The health of Carroll County’s citizens and Downtown Hillsville is about to get a boost with the opening of Studio G.
Offering Zumba, Refit, Core Fusion and many other health classes, Studio G not only brings a new exercise option to the area, but it will be doing so in a building on Main Street that had not been in operation in years. The “baby” of owner Gretchen Lawson, Studio G is located at 307 N. Main Street, home of the old Hillsville Post Office many years ago.
“It’s really funny how all this came about. In January I was trying to find where the Lord wanted me and I knew in my heart I wanted to keep doing what I was doing. And so with a lot of help from my friends we started scouring the area to try to find a spot. And all I needed was just an open floor and space to be able to have class,” said Lawson, who previously taught Zumba for five years at the Carroll Wellness Center. “And Lesley Catron, owner of the Hair Shack, came down here and walked by the side of the building and there was nothing over the windows. It was just storage. And so she got the name of the gentleman that owned it and I contacted him. We met and talked about everything and he was very, very supportive of what I envisioned. He gave me full creative reign over the entire building and so here we are.”
Of course, transitioning an old post office into a fitness center was not easy, Lawson said. The electrical work was outdated, the building needed a major overhaul in terms of cleaning, not to mention the bright stamp she wanted to put on the inside and outside of the facility, which features pink doors.
“We immediately started working on it and I have to give mad props to my husband, Scott, who has done everything. I told him what I wanted to go where and what bright colors to put up, and he has absolutely been phenomenal,” said Lawson. “It was just meant to be. I have had a lot of older business owners come by and tell me this is what this area needs, brightness and things to bring people in, and I said that is what I do. I try to be a very happy, very cheerful person. I try to be a very uplifting person and that is what all these bright colors, all these smiling faces are about.”
And judging by the turnout at Saturday’s grand opening, Studio G seems to have something Carroll County citizens are seeking. The grand opening featured snippets of all the classes to be offered at Studio G. While some people stayed for just a segment or two, others were there all day to take advantage of the sneak preview.
“I am very, very excited to have my own place. I am very excited to have the instructors I have lined up and to offer all kinds of different types of group fitness classes for all different ages,” Lawson said. “We have stuff for the kids and teens all the way up to older people who are a little bit slower paced. They still need to be able to have some cardio and still need to be able to use some light weights to keep everything toned and so I’m super excited.”
Classes to be offered at Studio G will include Zumba, Refit, Zumba Sentao (an exercise program with a chair), Core Fusion, Sculpt2AT, Strong, Exhale (a fusion of pilates and yoga), as well as cardio, lightweight, stretch and flexibility classes. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, instructor Kerry Crowley will offer a 45-minute sunrise shakeup class at 6 a.m.
“That class is six weeks and then she changes. It could be sometimes lifting weights, sometimes the balls, sometimes the resistance bands, sometimes Zumba,” Lawson said. “But it’s a great way to get your day started and something quick and easy to get in and get out.”
Different classes will also be held Monday-Friday at 4:30, 5:30, 6 and 6:30 in the afternoon. There will also be classes at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings. In total, Studio G will offer 22 to 25 classes per week. Participants can purchase an unlimited membership for $30 a month or pay a $5 drop-in rate daily (which will actually be just $4 during the month of April).
“When you break it down you are getting well over 100 classes a week. I am hoping if people decide they want to drop in and take the class and then take up to six classes, they will understand the unlimited pass is the way to go,” Lawson said. “And we won’t do any kind of contracts, any kind of bank drafts, don’t take credit cards, it’s cash or check. And if you are not going to be here for the month of July because you are vacationing you don’t have to pay that month, so you don’t have any kind of obligation.”
Studio G’s instructors include Jessica Fender and Michelle Hill for Refit, Sunrise Shakeup with Kerry Crowley, Strong with Lawson, and Kickboxing with Phoebe Largen, Sculpt2AT with Kelly Worrell, Zumba with three certified instructors (Crowley, Lawson and/or Michele Davis), Zumba Toning with Michele Davis, Core Fusion with Robyn Roper, Zumba Sentao with Kerry Crowley, and Exhale with Lauren Roper.
Many people were upset earlier this year when Lawson and the Carroll Wellness Center split ways. Lawson said she is just thankful for the opportunity to continue to work with Carroll County. She said she wants to focus on keeping things positive.
“I am grateful for the opportunity that I had prior to opening my own studio because that helped to launch me into this. I have so many friends and so many faces that I see in the grocery store or out on the street, and the opportunities as far as being very involved in the community in Carroll County and Galax and also in Patrick County,” Lawson said. “I don’t think some of those opportunities would have been quite as big of a success as they were without the launch pad that I had. I really don’t have any comment as far as what happened because I really didn’t have to say anything. I think people that know me and know what I stand for and know my ethics, they stood up for me and it is obvious. I really want this place to be nothing but sweat and smiles.”
Lawson said she has some ideas for family movie nights and outdoor concerts this summer on the back porch of the business. Already a birthday party has been booked at Studio G in May.
“We have a disco ball, flashing lights and music, so really tables and chairs are all you need,” she said.
Studio G can be reached online at email@example.com or on Facebook (Studio G, LLC) or Instagram.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN