After an injury forced Lisa Webb to put her dance career on pause, she opened Fayetteville Pilates & Barre in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since. Soon after, she hired JayDee Menchue as her studio’s general manager.
Despite juggling a lawn crew, a load of projects, and planning a welcome back party for Lisa (who'd just returned from Portugal), JayDee still squeezed in a few minutes to share with me just what exactly makes Fayetteville Pilates & Barre a truly special place.
So how Did the studio come about?
"Lisa grew up here in Fayetteville. After going to college and trying to pursue her career as a dancer, she injured her lower back. Throughout the process of trying to heal, fellow dancers kept asking, ‘Have you tried pilates?’
After she finished physical therapy, she decided to see what pilates was all about. Instead of investing her time to just take the classes, she decided to go through the training so that she could have it as a fall-back plan.
She ended up becoming a master instructor through Balanced Body. She taught pilates in Louisiana, in Los Angeles...she’s done a lot of traveling but it all brought her back to NWA.
She returned and started a little studio right off College. It was doing pretty good for a couple years, she was gaining clients, and then had the opportunity to move into the new Whole Foods complex where she was pretty much able to open the studio of her dreams."
And JayDee, you actually used to be a restaurant manager, right?
"I did. I was a restaurant manager and moved to Fayetteville and after experiencing a little bit of burnout in the industry; I wanted to try something different.
I enjoyed doing pilates, and Lisa had posted that she was looking for a general manager. I sent her my resume and the rest is kind of history. I ended up getting the position and between my own practice and being around it, I really fell in love with pilates and decided to take the next steps and become certified myself."
So why pilates–what are the benefits?
"Pilates is a great movement practice. People get it confused with yoga. These days, here’s a lot of exciting things out there in terms of high cardio impact exercises. But what we do relates to every person of every age, every walk of life so it’s really approachable. We work with people anywhere from 10 years old up to 95."
What do you think would surprise people about this studio?
We’re huge on customer service and checking in with every single person who walks in the door that day. You don’t always get that at a gym. You don’t always get that person who recognizes your pain or knows that you have a bad left knee, or that, ‘Hey, I heard your son’s graduating – how’s everything going with that?’
We actually have somebody in place, our new client specialist, who basically monitors the experience of each new client that comes through our doors and checks in with them regularly, asking things like, 'How did you feel after your first class? What are your goals? Can I help you figure out which classes you should take next?'
When we see people that have bought passes and haven’t ever used them, we may say, 'Hey, what’s wrong? Can we help you get in the studio? Do we need to extend this for you?'
So I think that would surprise people. It might look intimidating on the outside, but once you walk in the door it’s a lot like being at home."
How has the community of Fayetteville received and supported the studio since it opened?
"Oh, we are completely supported by the community. Her clients go back years, even before she opened her first studio when she was just filling in here and there. They support us not only by being regular clients, but we use all of our regular clients in our photo shoots. And any time we do any promotions, we involve them first."
It sounds like there’s a lot of give and take between you and the community, it’s not just one receiving from the other.
"Absolutely. We also support every local charity that comes through. We’ve made it a pretty big aspect of our business. A lot of people come by and ask us to donate something for a raffle. As long as it’s a good cause benefiting somebody, we love to be able to share our services and get people interested in pilates, as well as hopefully helping them to feel better.
We also use a lot of local vendors. We try to stick to local as much as possible."
Why is supporting local charities and businesses so important to you guys?
"Well, supporting other local businesses for us is important because of the relationship. I feel like we get better customer service, better quality, and just an overall better experience if we deal with somebody local.
For instance, we use Hometown Press which is a printing company right down the street from us. I heard about ‘em through a friend. He doesn’t have a huge flashy sign, he doesn’t have a big shop, but his quality is outstanding and he’s wonderful to work with. We send all of our business to him and even ran a t-shirt competition based on some of the work he was going to be doing for us, just to make sure we got his name out there too.
We believe in local and local believes in us."
And if you believe in local, too, make your way over to a class at Fayetteville Pilates & Barre, where you already know you'll feel at home. Check out the exclusive deals available to you (and while you're at it, support ALL things local) by downloading the Towny app for iPhone or Android. Local believes in you.