Studio Verso located in the city of St. Johns, in the province of Newfoundland, in the country of Canada recently won the Board of Trade’s annual business resilience award
Studio Verso in St. John’s hasn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic slow down the owners from turning their dream into pedal-powered reality.
Founder Emily Hickey and co-owner Maria Snow describe Studio Verso as a “movement studio,” offering classes for spin, rowing and yoga, as well as a recovery program.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from our community,” said Hickey.
“Our community members are so lovely and positive and they really emulate the culture that we have built here.”
Studio Verso is the product of two like-minded fitness enthusiasts looking to steer away from the status quo.
“Our business is designed with inclusivity at the forefront,” Hickey said.
“There’s a lot of thought behind every element of our space and it’s meant to create a space that is as safe as possible for as many people as possible.”
In November, the St. John’s Board of Trade recognized Studio Verso with its annual award for business resilience.
The award provided some validation for Hickey, who passed the bar exam to become a lawyer last year but chose non-practicing status for the time being to focus on Studio Verso.
“I do not regret that decision,” she said.
“I think that winning the award at the Board of Trade was also a recognition that it was the right decision to make.”
The idea for the business began to form in the fall of 2020, with the two officially opening up shop in in October 2021. Every step they’ve taken — or every pedal pushed — has been done during the pandemic.
“We had nothing to compare it to. It’s been a very interesting experience,” Hickey said.
“This is our first winter that we are open without restrictions from the government, so we’re experiencing a big influx of individuals and it’s really lovely to be seeing so many new members coming into our space.”
The studio features gender-neutral change rooms, has one piece of accessible equipment per room, and unlike a lot of gyms, doesn’t have wall-to-wall mirrors on every available space.
“I think that when you walk into here there’s just an energy that the community brings that truly is so special,” Snow said.
“It does feel welcoming, and I think we have put such attention into walking the walk and not just talking the talk that you can really feel that when you walk in the space.”
The duo now operates in a space with sleek colours, bright lights and loud music to motivate the folks who come in for a spin.
“We love when the lights are low and the music is loud,” said Hickey.
“We keep the lights low because not everybody wants to be seen or feel seen during the class. It’s really a time to get out of your own head, get into your body.”
Studio Verso also takes time to celebrate milestones; a user’s first class is recognized as well as members who have hit the 100-class mark and even a few who have completed 200.
With 2023 in full swing, the studio is adding more to its exercise arsenal.
“We are launching our fifth program, which is called ‘Train,'” Snow said.
“Train is going to be a combination of floor work, mat work, band work, body weight movement as well. And we are super excited.”
With more than 20 instructors — included the two owners — six front-of-house staff Studio Verso is picking up speed.
“We love to say it’s just the beginning because we always are coming up with new ideas and further developing our program,” Hickey said.
“Growth is definitely on the horizon.”
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