With waitlists for about 75 percent of its classes, owners of lifestyle studio Barre District decided it was time to open a second location.
Owners Christina Zarnowski and Nikki Meeusen narrowed in on Wauwatosa as much of their clientele base is from the city and often doesn't want to make the trip to the existing Bay View location on the weekends, said Zarnowski, of Wauwatosa.
'People seem to love us as much as we love them,' she said. Barre District offers workout classes that are a hybrid of Pilates, yoga and ballet. The low-impact workout aims to improve strength and flexibility.
The owners hope to open a second location at 5211 W. North Ave. in Milwaukee by July, Zarnowski said. The building previously housed an antiques store, she said.
'It has a lot of character and charm,' she said of the building.
The unique workout's popularity has grown significantly in recent years, said Zarnowski, who added the concept was started by a woman undergoing physical therapy. The classes are a big draw for women who recently gave birth or for those suffering physical injuries, she said.
Zarnowski said it's not uncommon for the classes to help with childbirth as the moves increase abdominal strength. Women often take the classes throughout their entire pregnancy and then bounce back quickly postpartum.
'People tell me, 'Barre changed my life,' and I believe them because it changed mine too,' Zarnowski said. The now-barre instructor previously worked in salons before she became 'obsessed' with going to the gym and leading a healthy lifestyle. She wondered how she could turn her love for exercise into a career. When she applied for a job to become an instructor at Barre District studio in Bay View, 2121 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., she was hired in 10 minutes by then sole-owner Meeusen, Zarnowski said. The Bay View studio opened in January 2015.
The instant camaraderie eventually turned into a business partnership.
'I never thought about opening a business before,' Zarnowski said.
The barre center will resemble a ballet studio with mirrors around the perimeter, said Zarnowski. There will be a ballet bar used for balance and stretching and the floor will be made of a textured, gym mat material. All students are required to wear socks with grips on the bottom, which they can purchase at the studio, if desired.
'Our doors are open to absolutely everybody and we have modifications for every level,' she said. We modify every move that we do so everybody feels comfortable.'
Barre studios have grown in popularity in recent years; The Barre Code opened in Brookfield and Pure Barre in Elm Grove.
'The more barre studios, the better,' Zarnowski said.
The newly-rebranded Barre District offers a variety of class options, including some that focus on lower-body building and include lunges and squats and others that are yoga-centered. The first class is always free.
'It's a hangout, it's not a workout,' said Zarnowski of the class atmosphere.
To learn more about Barre District, find them on Facebook by searching 'Barre District' or on Instagram by searching 'Barre. District.' A website is forthcoming.