Real Estate, Retail, and Small Business & Startups

Barre fitness studio steps into downtown

June 14, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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barre exercise fitness class
A group of people participate in a barre-based exercise class. Photo via wikimedia.org

A new barre fitness studio is joining a group of businesses to fill out an apartment building in the downtown area.

Beer City Barre, referring to the bar or hip-height handrail used in ballet studios, will open in Grand Rapids in September in suite 120 as part of the 616 Lofts on Monroe development, at 820 Monroe Ave. NW.

Owner Cori Williams has signed the lease with Grand Rapids-based 616 Development, the project’s developer.

Williams worked with M Retail Solutions in Grand Rapids to find the roughly 1,000-square-foot space.

She said she expects to be able to host 15 people per class and offer several classes throughout the day, including the possibility of lunchtime express classes.

She plans to launch the company’s website in the next few weeks, and she's created a Facebook page.

Barre vision

Barre-style classes are an “up-and-coming trendy workout” Williams fell in love with when her sister invited her to a free trial class a few years ago.

The workouts incorporate pieces of Pilates, yoga and dance for a low-impact activity set to music.

“We went and it was really challenging, and I’m a pretty athletic person,” she said. “I went back and back again, and it was an addiction for me. I started going four to six times a week and saw results and changes in my body I’d never experienced before.”

A 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University in exercise science, Williams had been working in the health and wellness industry, but she’s always wanted to open a business of her own and saw an opportunity when the studio she frequented closed.

She fell in love with the space at 820 Monroe and knew it was the place to open her studio.

The building is also home to CKO Kickboxing, but Williams said she believes the two businesses can be compatible.

“There’s an opportunity there for people who have gone to kickboxing and want to have a low-impact workout a few days a week and the other way around,” she said. “They’ll probably complement each other pretty well.”

616 Lofts on Monroe

The development is $22-million renovation of the four-story 820 Monroe building, featuring 85 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space.

Retail tenants also include City Built Brewery, Fido & Stitch and Field & Fire.

Essence Restaurant Group – which owns Bistro Bella Vita, The Green Well and Grove – expects to open its fourth restaurant as part of the development as well.

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