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VOL. 126 | NO. 220 | Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Right Fit

Pure Barre owners find East Memphis locale better suited to demand

By Sarah Baker

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In just over a year, national fitness craze Pure Barre Technique has taken the Memphis market by storm.

Pure Barre Fitness owner Lindsey Laurenzi leads a fitness class using pure barre technique, which is based on ballet, Pilates and weightlifting. 
(Photo: Lance Murphey)

The exercise routine that uses a ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to music began in 2001 in Birmingham, Mich. In July 2009, Pure Barre became a nationwide franchise.

In September 2010, two Germantown sisters decided to bring the business to their hometown. Lindsey Laurenzi and Kimberly Morgan, both of whom have fitness backgrounds, grew up in Germantown and have strong ties to the area.

Laurenzi graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in sport management, while Morgan graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in marketing. After hearing about Pure Barre from several friends, Laurenzi decided to give it a try and enrolled in classes at a studio in Nashville, where she was living at the time.

She immediately fell in love with the technique and introduced the concept to her sister.

“Kim was personal training in Germantown and working with many women looking for something different from the typical gym atmosphere,” Laurenzi said. “There are not many options besides the gyms for women in Germantown and we believed the women would really respond to the Pure Barre Technique. We felt it was a perfect fit.”

The duo chose Germantown Crossing, 7685 Farmington Road, for Pure Barre’s first Memphis area retail store. Within eight months, they learned that the demand at their 1,700-square-foot space was quickly outpacing supply.

So Laurenzi and Morgan went to Andrew Phillips of Colliers International, the broker they had worked with just a few months prior.

“When we started considering other areas of Memphis to be in, East Memphis was an easy decision, just because they saw a lot of people from East Memphis driving out to Germantown to visit that location,” Phillips said. “They were doing booming business and having a lot of their classes filled to the brim.”

A single vacancy in Audubon Place at 4700 Spottswood Ave. stood out to the sisters right away.

The 60,728-square-foot shopping center was not only anchored by Target and SuperLo Foods but was also filled with tenants like Plaza Beauty School, Wine Market, Weight Watchers, Pro Nails, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn – tenants that shared many parallels to Pure Barre’s target demographic.

“The location is convenient and easy to get to from many areas of town, there is ample parking, and the neighboring businesses appeal to the same clientele as we do,” Laurenzi said. “Also, safety is a major concern since most of our clients are women. They have full-time security patrol and we feel very safe in this location.”

Within the center’s three-mile radius, there’s a population of 84,155 and an average household income of $69,622, which is valuable data to a service like Pure Barre, where classes start at $20 for a single session and $225 for a month of unlimited use.

Jason Polley, project leasing director of StoneCrest Investments LLC’s Memphis office and the landlord rep for Audubon Place, was confident that Pure Barre would fit nicely into the center’s portfolio.

“Their customer profile is primarily female, very well educated, higher-income demographic,” Polley said. “They run classes throughout the day, with most of their busiest classes in the mornings, afternoons and evenings, so it just adds another component of bringing that upper-scale, upper-income type of female shopper to the center, and so we thought that was something that was really attractive. That’s the kind of thing we’re looking for in the center, those unique type of retail and service businesses.”

Pure Barre’s second East Memphis location celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 25. Since the duo’s objective is to appeal to a specific customer base, they are mindful not to over-saturate the market.

“These two locations support the demand in the Memphis area,” Laurenzi said. “The majority of our marketing comes from word of mouth. We focus on our clients to ensure they have the best possible experience every time they come through the door.”

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