Business Buzz

The Glebe has two brand new fitness centres for you – both promising a dramatic improvement from the current fitness landscape. We also welcome the new BeaverTails stand at the Lansdowne rink.

Fitness gets a boost in the Glebe

What’s the secret to a perfect BeaverTail?


Fitness gets a boost in the Glebe

By Ben Bulmer

If the extra pounds Christmas added to your waistline are still hanging around, and the gym membership you meant to get hasn’t quite happened, the Glebe has two brand new fitness centres for you – both promising a dramatic improvement from the current fitness landscape.

Free Form Fitness opened its doors January 5 and The Dailey Method opened up on January 22. These Bank Street businesses are not conventional gyms; Free Form Fitness (FFF) offers a one-on-one holistic fitness approach, and The Dailey Method (TDM) runs its own unique custom-made classes.

Free Form Fitness

“We’re strictly one-on-one training – we are a customised and tailored approach,” says Ashley Lawrie, president of Free Form Fitness.

“We’re strictly one-on-one training – we are a customised and tailored approach,” says Ashley Lawrie, president of Free Form Fitness.

Lawrie’s brother and sister-in-law started FFF in Kanata in 2006, originally as a gym. The idea for a personalised individual approach came after seeing so many people not achieve much with their workouts. So one year after opening they changed their philosophy and started the one-on-one service.

“We were seeing people coming in and they were looking exactly the same [as when they started] or they weren’t consistent,” says Lawrie.

From this, the family realised if they really wanted to help people they needed to change from a gym to a personalised health and fitness solution. “Just going to the gym is great because you’re doing something, but if you have no plan, no direction, you’re not consistent – our clients come to us because they need help. We’re usually the last resort, when we should be the first resort,” says Lawrie.

The Dailey Method

Husband and wife team Sarah Thompson and Jamie Rigby opened The Dailey Method studio on January 22 at Fifth Avenue Court.

Husband and wife team Sarah Thompson and Jamie Rigby opened The Dailey Method studio on January 22 at Fifth Avenue Court.

Husband and wife team Sarah Thompson and Jamie Rigby have opened The Dailey Method studio promising a “different way of training and a different way of staying fit.” Classes take place in the 750-square-foot studio in Fifth Avenue Court and focus on using ballet bars, very light weights, exercise balls, straps and your own body weight.

“It’s a full body work out, which is highly efficient, highly effective and uses a mix of yoga, pilates and overall core body strengthening,” says Thompson.

Both Thompson and Rigby are very passionate about their studio and the methods they teach. One of the things that attracted Thompson to TDM was its sustainable workout approach. “Anyone can do it, from a teenager to a 70- or 80-year-old person,” says Thompson. “In a one hour class, you get your workout and your stretch all in the hour.”

“There are a lot of corrections and we’re very alignment focused, which is unique,” says Thompson. “We’re uncommonly obsessed with alignment, so we really make sure you’re set up before you move.”

Friendly gets results

Both businesses preach an open, friendly and supportive environment.

An exclusive but non-intimidating atmosphere is FFF’s goal, with some clientele aiming for about three half-hour sessions a week and others once a month, depending on their situation. “We’re looking at their overall lifestyle,” says Lawrie, “their stress, their sleeping, their nutrition.”

Lawrie’s original plan to go into nursing took a turn, but the desire to help always remained the same. “For us, we want our clients to live a healthier active lifestyle.”

Lawrie’s original plan to go into nursing took a turn, but the desire to help always remained the same. “For us, we want our clients to live a healthier active lifestyle.”

One thing Lawrie is quick to point out is the accountability of the business. “For us people are coming here for a solution. They’re coming to us because they need guidance, they need the accountability piece and they need the knowledge piece.”

Both Thompson and Rigby also promise a solution and the results to go with it. “You 100 per cent get results [with TDM]. There’s no way you can’t get results. We say three times a week for six weeks and you will see and get results,” says Thompson.

So why the Glebe?

The Bank Street studio is the fourth FFF to open, with the original Kanata studio as well as locations in the ByWard Market and Wellington area. “We originally wanted to come to the Glebe before our Wellington location but there was nothing available,” says Lawrie, adding “the sense of community is what drew the business to the Glebe. We love the community side of things, where it’s really tightknit – they care about local and we really care about local – so we thought it matched our values and what we believe in as a company.”

With so many other gyms in the Glebe and with the close proximity to the YMCA, you’d be forgiven for thinking the market was a little saturated when it comes to fitness in the Glebe. But Lawrie dismisses this, pointing to FFF’s unique services. “We’re not a gym with trainers, we’re strictly one-on-one training,” says Lawrie. “What sets us apart is that we care more than anybody.”

Sarah Thompson and Jamie Rigby reflect on their approach to fitness: “It’s a full body workout, which is highly efficient, highly effective and uses a mix of yoga, pilates and overall core body strenghening.”

Sarah Thompson and Jamie Rigby reflect on their approach to fitness: “It’s a full body workout, which is highly efficient, highly effective and uses a mix of yoga, pilates and overall core body strenghening.”

For TDM it’s a more personal reason to come to the Glebe. “We both grew up in the Glebe,” says Thompson – although technically a few streets over – but who’s counting. The Ottawa couple come from a sporting background, having both received scholarships to play tennis at university. After graduating, moving away and teaching high school, they spent three years in Vancouver before travelling around the world with what Thompson describes as “some pretty cool jobs.”

“We realised Ottawa’s the place we want to be and the Glebe is the place we want to open our first business,” says Thompson. Again it comes down to community feel and a love for the neighbourhood. “We know all our clients names. It’s a community feel, that’s the biggest thing,” says Thompson.

Both businesses are drawn here by the strong sense of community and are not concerned about the other fitness options in the area. They both point to their own individual style and unique characteristics as well as their passion for helping people achieve their fitness goals.

Carving a niche in a market is generally a key to business success and differentiating yourself from the competition with better services is often the way to go about it. Thompson is proud to point out that TDM has certified child care services on site for people taking their classes. “You do your workout, you leave your child in the child-care room, and you’re just in the room beside,” says Thompson. It’s a free service for members and $5 for drop-ins.

If you still need more incentives to lose those Christmas pounds, both studios have opening specials: Free Form Fitness is doing eight sessions for $96, and The Dailey Method offers unlimited classes for six weeks for $100.

The Dailey Method
99 Fifth Avenue
(Fifth Avenue Court)

Free Form Fitness
787 Bank Street

Ben Bulmer, a journalist, is a newcomer to the Glebe, a keen cyclist and a cheese-lover. He is a regular Business Buzz writer for the Glebe Report.

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What’s the secret to a perfect BeaverTail? Read on …

By Nicole Bayes-Fleming

Davey Wright welcomes pastry-lovers of all kinds, but especially children, to his BeaverTails stand at the Lansdowne Park Skating Court. PHOTO: NICOLE BAYES-FLEMING

Davey Wright welcomes pastry-lovers of all kinds, but especially children, to his BeaverTails stand at the Lansdowne Park Skating Court. PHOTO: NICOLE BAYES-FLEMING

Ottawa’s most iconic treat makes its way into the Glebe community this winter, as the opening of the Lansdowne Park Skating Court brings with it a BeaverTails stand.

Operated by Davey Wright and Adam Hendren, the stand is located next to the Court just behind Aberdeen Pavilion. It is open Friday nights and weekends, and throughout Winterlude. According to Wright, the new skating rink offers a great place for families with young children.
“We’re hoping that Glebe residents are going to find out about it, and it will provide them a place to go with their kids,” he explains. “Since the ice here is really well maintained, it’s a great place for kids to learn to skate, with none of the hazards that the canal poses. And it’s open all the time – if the weather’s bad and they close the canal, the rink will still be open.”

This isn’t the first time there’s been a BeaverTails stand at Lansdowne. There was one before the reconstruction, working alongside the Ottawa 67s. After the renovation occurred, the company was eager to be part of it and bring BeaverTails back into the Glebe.
“I think it’s great,” Wright says of the new Lansdowne plaza, “I was really surprised at how quickly it went up. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t realize how big and expansive it would be. I was excited to hear that football was coming back to Ottawa, but I didn’t realize it was going to involve us at BeaverTails.”

This is the fourth stand for Wright and Hendren, who also operate at Fifth Avenue, Dow’s Lake and the Rink of Dreams. The stand at Lansdowne offers all the usual flavours, including Wright’s own favourite, the Killaloe Sunrise – a BeaverTail dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with a wedge of lemon.

For Wright, who grew up in the Glebe, the connection with BeaverTails goes back to his childhood memories. “My dad was a schoolteacher at Elgin Street Public School and he would skate to work, and he would encourage my sister and I to do the same. We went to First Avenue, and there’s the little Patterson’s Creek that goes right off the canal and right up to the school, so we used to skate to school all the time.”
Wright began working at a BeaverTails stand on the canal when he was 18, eventually becoming general manager at the ByWard Market location before operating his own. He says that for BeaverTails, hiring high school and university students is common practice.

“For a lot of them it’s their first job, and it gives them a real good work experience. We really like to have great, outgoing personalities that will make the customers’ experience feel memorable.”

Of course, Ottawa’s notoriously cold weather requires BeaverTails’ employees to become accustomed to toughing out shifts during freezing temperatures. Yet while the physical environment is frigid, the work environment is anything but.

“We want people to have fun,” says Wright. “We’re always having fun when we’re in there, even when it’s really cold out and we can’t feel our fingertips. We’re always playing music, dancing and laughing, trying to have a great time and we want that to reflect out to the customers.”

While BeaverTails values all of its pastry-loving visitors, it’s the youngest demographic that captures its heart. “Children are a big part of our business,” Wright says. “We really want them to have a great time and remember it, so that when they grow up they’ll bring their kids.”

Tradition plays a large role in the success of the BeaverTails business, as people have come to associate a skate on the Rideau Canal with the satisfying warmth and sweetness of the fried treat.
“Over the years, thousands if not millions of people have come to Ottawa during Winterlude and discovered BeaverTails, and they go back home to wherever they’re from and tell their friends and families, ‘When you’re on the canal, you have to have a BeaverTail,’” Wright explains. “We want to keep that going.”

So what’s the secret to a perfect BeaverTail?

“The secret to a perfect BeaverTail … it’s got to be stretched and cooked properly, but it’s the butter, in my opinion,” Wright laughs. “If it doesn’t have butter, it’s just not the same.”

Nicole Bayes-Fleming is a second year journalism student at Carleton University and a regular contributor to the Glebe Report.

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