Pure Barre: Changing Lives

Katie Addington has a zeal for changing lives.

“I am passionate about helping women find their best selves,” she says. It was that drive that led her to her entrepreneurial adventure, opening Pure Barre in The District at Prairie Trail in Ankeny March 2018.

Barre is a low impact workout of isometric strength training that incorporates the use of a ballet barre. Classes typically involve holding basic ballet, yoga and Pilates poses, focusing on form and improving core strength.

At the barre is a comfortable place for Katie. Growing up in Grinnell, Iowa, she cultivated a fascination of movement and fitness through dance classes that began at age 8. She continued with dance throughout her college career at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, graduating with a BFA in dance. Within two years of her college graduation she earned a comprehensive Stott Pilates Certification. She taught Pilates for 13 years in Missouri and North Carolina, taking Pure Barre classes as a hobby starting in 2010. She instantly fell in love with the technique and choreography that Pure Barre offered. 

Raising the Bar with Pure Barre

Katie and her husband moved back to the Midwest to be closer to family after starting their family. That’s when Katie grew serious about opening her own business. “I grew up in a household where both parents were entrepreneurs, and my siblings and I helped at their businesses every evening,” she says. “I’ve always had the desire to own my own business, I just didn’t know when it would happen. I honestly thought it would happen before it did.”

She considered opening a Pilates studio, but after weighing pros and cons opted in to the Pure Barre franchise. Pure Barre has 500 studios across North America. 

“I love that Pure Barre offers three different types of classes I can market within one facility,” says Katie. “There is the classic class, which is strengthening and toning. We offer the Empower class, which is cardio-based. And soon we will have another class type that focuses more on the mind + body connection.” 

Class participants are all ages and have a wide range of fitness ability, Katie says. The Pure Barre choreography allows modifications for various client needs and body types to adapt to wherever someone is on their personal fitness journey. Key benefits of the Pure Barre technique include improved posture, increased core strength, increased flexibility and improved muscle tone. The first class is free; a great opportunity to try the method out. 

The District at Prairie Trail 

A key consideration was where to locate the new Pure Barre studio. “My husband and I knew we wanted to come to Ankeny,” Katie says. “We just love the community. And where else but Prairie Trail? I love what is happening here. This was my No. 1 choice. We have the new Town Square and library in The District.  It is going to be a great place for foot traffic. This location just sells itself.”

Now, a typical day for Katie is anything but. She is often up at 4 a.m. – “the first thing I do is get coffee!” – and then teaches Pure Barre’s 5 and 6 a.m. classes. Then it’s back home to get her little one ready for school, followed by time back at the studio, possibly teaching more classes, handling the retail front-of-house of workout clothing and gear, or one of the million and two other things that go into running a small business day-to-day. Most evenings Katie says her team of “eight amazing employees” holds down the fort so she can be home with her family. Pure Barre offers 32 classes per week and is open daily, offering 50-minute classes in early morning, evening or lunch time frames to accommodate all kinds of schedules.

It’s a lot, Katie admits. “I have given up a lot to get here,” she says. “A lot of family time. It has not been easy. Small business owners have rough days. But every single thing I’ve done and all the time I’ve put into this has been worth every single minute to see the lives that we are changing. I am passionate about it. To we see these women that come in, some for their first class who see other women who have been doing this since we opened, it makes them a little apprehensive and outside their comfort zone. But we’ve built a community of women that support and empower each other. Friendships grow within the studio. Women come here that didn’t know each other and now they leave and go have coffee together. They leave here feeling more empowered, their bodies have changed…some of the stories we’ve heard have been phenomenal.

“I want anyone that walks in that door to feel at home, to feel welcome, to let it be their safe place,” Katie says. “We say, ‘this is your hour away from your kids, you’re away from you husband, you don’t have to go buy groceries, and we are telling you what to do for an hour. It is your hour. You just get to zone everything else out.’ We close those doors to the studio and that is where the magic happens.”

Running her own business has taught Katie a lot, particularly about time management, prioritization and delegating. It’s a “one day at a time” philosophy managing Pure Barre  and juggling the needs of her family. “If everything doesn’t get crossed off my list today it will still be there tomorrow,” she notes. 

Her advice for other budding entrepreneurs? “Go for it. It’s scary, but women today have more opportunity than they ever have to set goals, crush those goals and accomplish their dreams. There is amble opportunity for women to thrive these days.” For setting goals, crushing them, accomplishing and thriving, Katie Addington is one fine example.

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