By Selena Beattie
When Sarah Thompson and Jaimie Rigby learned they would lose their lease on their Dailey Method studio space after four-and-a-half years in Fifth Avenue Court, their first thought was whether to close the business. As any small business owner knows, setting up a new business, creating a space and building a clientele involves a constant marshalling of energy. After opening in 2015 by offering barre classes (a hybrid of core strength, stability and flexibility exercises) and then adding yoga, they expanded the studio by taking over the space next door to offer cycle classes as well.
They quickly built a loyal following. “When you set your day and week’s schedule around your workouts and friends, you know you’ve found something special,” says regular Phil Legault. Participants range from students and new moms to desk jockeys and retirees of all shapes and sizes, abilities and genders.
It was the energy and enthusiasm of their devoted clients, staff and neighbours that convinced them to carry on. “The studio community has grown with us, and we didn’t want to disappoint them,” says Thompson. “Frankly, we couldn’t imagine our lives without these wonderful people.” The couple then embarked on a two-year search for the right space. Just like when they searched for their first studio, they knew that they wanted to be in the Glebe. The couple lives in the neighbourhood, the central location suits clients and staff, and the Glebe community (including neighbouring businesses like Bloomfields whose fresh bouquets brighten the change rooms) has been tremendously supportive over the years.
But the search wasn’t easy. They needed room for separate barre and cycle studios, child care and change rooms for both men and women. More importantly, they wanted a space that would feel welcoming and inviting for existing members and the wider community.
What they eventually found was the old car wash at 117 Glebe Avenue. Thompson and Rigby realized that with a substantial renovation, the space would give them an opportunity to offer the same classes as the before and even more. So instead of closing the business, they decided to go all-in and are actually expanding.
Like any renovation, the space came with its challenges. They had to build walls, install new insulation, windows, plumbing and electrical, and pour a new floor. New water and sewer connections meant digging out to the street. There were the inevitable delays, added costs and setbacks but by time this issue hits doorsteps 117 Glebe will be open.
“Its next level,” exclaims Thompson. The space now boasts a barre room, a separate cycle studio, men’s and women’s change rooms with showers, dedicated child-care space and a new weight room where clients can tackle TRX and resistance challenges with personal trainers. They have added treatment rooms and are recruiting like-minded practitioners to offer therapies like massage, physiotherapy and nutrition counselling. The space also boasts two lounge spaces where clients can hang out between classes or before treatments. A retail area will offer leggings, tops and barre socks from great small brands like Spiritual Gangster and Vancouver’s Daub + Design.
The icing on the cake is the new café. Open to all, it offers beverages and food, both healthy and indulgent (yes, you may even on occasion find cake!) The café is overseen by Erin Benton, an experienced café manager and chef who worked with Thompson and Rigby to develop a menu that is 80-per-cent whole food and 20-per-cent treats. There is something for everyone. They will feature local and Ontario products, with coffee from Pilot coffee roasters in Toronto and delicious beer from local microbrewery Ashton.
To plug all these exciting new offerings, Thompson and Rigby’s new space will be rebranded as “Where I Thrive, Classes and Café.” While continuing to offer The Dailey Method classes that people love, says Thompson, “We wanted to capture that this new space will offer so much more.”
After more than two and a half years of confronting the loss of their previous studio then finding, renovating and opening this new space, Thompson and Rigby could be forgiven for being a little tired. But with their typical energy and enthusiasm, they are instead excited for the next chapter and seem poised to thrive. And so are their many devoted fans. “What Sarah and Jamie have put together is a hub for fitness, mental health and community,” says Dianna Legault. “We know that they and their team will grow their next home into something even better.”
For more information about Where I Thrive, including class schedules, classes, café menu and hours, visit whereithrive.ca.
Selena Beattie is a Glebe resident, artist and writer who writes occasionally for the Glebe Report, and who has been a loyal follower of The Dailey Method.