Committing to an exercise regimen seems pre-programmed in our DNA. Who remembers “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” with Richard Simmons or doing “Tae Bo” with Billy Banks? Will the head-band wearing, leg-warmer-loving Jane Fonda fans stand up?


Even today—CrossFit, spin, Zumba, Pilates, yoga, Jazzercise—Louisville offers no shortage of get-in-shape opportunities. The popular work-out Pure Barre didn’t just provide fitness for Megan Wade but a new business venture—opening the first Pure Barre studio in Southern Indiana.


Feeling the “Burn”

Pure Barre combines elements of Pilates, yoga and ballet.This total body workout utilizes the ballet barre to perform small, precise, isometric movements, which target specific muscles. In 2001, dancer/choreographer Carrie Rezabek Dorr, founded Pure Barre in an office building basement in Birmingham, Mich. Today, Pure Barre operates more than 300 franchise-owned studios across North America.


Louisville’s only Pure Barre studios are located at Westport Village (1321 Herr Lane) and The Paddock Shops (4284 Summit Plaza Drive) in Springhurst. However, many similar barre-style studios and classes exist throughout the city.


Lucy Gentry, Co-Owner of Pure Barre Louisville and Pure Barre Summit, says she is still challenged by every class she takes. “It never gets old.” she says. “The technique is targeted for a woman’s body, and taken consistently over time, proven to give results no matter age, shape or size.”


It’s musically driven, Gentry explains, which plays a major role in classes helping to motivate clients, or actually distracting them from the “burn” their muscles feel by taking them to another place or time. “Music is very connected to memories, and if you’ve ever taken a Pure Barre class you know how quickly your mind can relax, let the day go and just focus on yourself for the hour,” she says.


Angela Allison started Pure Barre more than two years ago. “After my first class I was overwhelmed and sore, but I knew I had to go back. I love the results, and I feel stronger than I ever have,” she says.


Emilee Ruxer, a Pure Barre instructor of three years admits that Pure Barre changed her life. “The community of women are wonderful, and the workout gives me one hour to focus on myself and leave everything else outside the studio doors.”


Expanding the Barre

Four years ago, Megan Wade took her first Pure Barre class. The Western Kentucky University graduate worked in nursing and then pharmaceutical and medical sales. After a co-worker told Wade how sore her arm was after a class she became intrigued. “I couldn’t believe she couldn’t lift her arm. She worked out all of the time. It was just a three pound weight,” Wade says. She became hooked, too.


One year later she became a  Pure Barre instructor. Ruxer and Wade attended a Pure Barre training in South Carolina together, and even then, her passion for Pure Barre was undeniable. “I don’t think I would have survived that training without Meg,” says Ruxer. “She is mentally tough and always maintains a positive attitude.”


Wade’s positivity inspired her students. “Megan was one of my first instructors. She taught the six a.m. class. She got me so interested and offered me her friends and family. Otherwise, I might not have been able to continue as often,” says Courtney Kempf, who not only continued taking classes but became an instructor, too. “I’ve been instructing now for two plus years and can’t imagine doing anything else.”


Around the same time she began teaching, Wade inquired about opening her own studio, serendipitously, looking in the same location she eventually picked years later. She developed a business plan, interviewed with Pure Barre corporate and was accepted.


“But I got nervous and stayed in sales,” she says. “It’s a big investment.” (According to the Pure Barre website the cost to open a franchise is an estimated investment of $152,000 – $275,000, plus the cost of real estate.)


However, the idea never diminished.


“Now is the right time,” Wade says. She tributes her husband for taking the leap of faith. “I couldn’t ask for a better husband,” she says. “He pushed me to do this.”


An Untapped Market

New Albany had always been on Wade’s radar. “New Albany is gorgeous,” she says. “We have friends who live here. I’m impressed by the neighborhoods and community. As a small business owner you can thrive.


“Go where there’s a market,” she continues. “I knew if I didn’t open a studio here someone else would. It was just a matter of time.”


Wade found space in a retail center on Charlestown Road (4317 Charlestown Road, Suite 9) that she completely renovated. She hired seven instructors and two, part-time “barre tenders” to manage the front desk. In nine weeks the studio was ready for business. Individual classes or  class packages may be purchased. There are also classes designed for new moms and brides.


A pre-opening special drew 130 potential new clients. Pure Barre devotee Andrea Duvall wasn’t surprised. “I’ve known Megan since 2013 when she taught my second Pure Barre class. Megan knew I was a new client, and she took time after class to answer my questions and provide some helpful feedback to ensure I understood the technique,” she says. “Megan is passionate and driven, which are two traits that are essential for success in running a Pure Barre studio. She has great experience in the studio and in her prior professional roles that give her a well-rounded perspective.”


Cammie O’Connell, who took her first Pure Barre class from Wade, agrees. “Megan takes the time to explain what you should be working and what you should feel. I’m not surprised she decided to open her own Pure Barre. She’s strong, talented and dedicated to making others feel their best and reach their goals,” she says.


Gentry, who first met Wade as a client, then hired her as a teacher, has enjoyed watching her evolve. “Megan is an amazing teacher, and I’m so happy she’s putting her passion into entrepreneurship by opening her very own Pure Barre studio,” she says. “She is going to do fantastic things for the New Albany community.”

A Cleveland native turned Louisville resident by way of Chicago, Melanie brings 20 years publishing experience to Louisville Distilled. After graduating from Indiana University Bloomington with degrees in English and Journalism, Melanie has worked as an editor on staffs at national magazines based in Chicago and Los Angeles. She moved to Louisville in 2004 where she launched a successful freelance editing and writing career. Her award-winning articles have appeared in Draft, Chef, The National Culinary Review, Pizza Today, Complete Woman, Louisville Magazine, Business First, Her Scene, Medical News and more. She lives in the East End with her husband, Sean, two children and dog. Passionate about the arts (and an adventurous foodie) Melanie loves eating her way through Louisville’s food scene and supporting the local arts and music scene.


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