HIGHLAND PARK – As Almetra Lundy, the owner of Inspire Me Fit exercise and dance studio, reflects on her first year of business ownership, she appreciates the alliances she’s created over the last 12 months.
“I started alone, but since then, I’ve been able to create partnerships. I learned that forming alliances are important,” said Lundy, Highland Park business owner who will be celebrating her first year of business tonight, the same night as Autumn in the Park, a “Harry Potter”-themed festival in the borough.
Tonight, there will be an open house at 4:30 p.m. featuring relay races, prizes, raffles and food. From 6-10 p.m., Lundy will offer free fitness boot camp and yoga classes.
Lundy said her first year of business has been successful because of the partnerships she’s formed. She is working with Mekor, a religious-based company that offers dance and fitness classes to women only.
“That’s important because I’m in a heavily Jewish area. She (Mekor’s owner) needed the space and I needed the clientele,” Lundy said, adding that she now has 10 women’s-only classes and a kids’ programs that is going well.
Lundy is also working with Gifted Bodies, a company that specializes in fitness boot camps.
“All they do is boot camps. They are experts. What we offer is different from other gyms. I only want experts. They have national certifications. I’m not just hiring Joe Schmo off the street,” she said.
She’s also introducing three new classes this fall: an African Dance Workshop at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Nov. 9; a Belly Dance Workshop at 7:30 p.m. on Sundays starting Nov. 6 and Baby Bop, a mommy and me class, from 9-9:45 a.m. Saturday and Sundays beginning Nov. 13. Baby Bop is for babies between 18 and 36 months old.
James McCrone, executive director of MSHP, the non-profit that promotes businesses along Raritan Avenue in Highland Park, said “We’re particularly pleased that Almetra is celebrating her first anniversary because this shows the vitality and viability of businesses in Highland Park.”
“Almetra and Inspire Me Fit are a super addition to the growing health and wellness niche. She brings entrepreneurial savvy, which she mixes with her civic commitment,” he continued.
Over the last year, Lundy said her clientele has grown.
“I was initially open on a part-time basis, but now, I’m open seven days a week. We went from having three classes on the schedule to having 15-20 classes, including workshops,” she said. The most popular classes are zumba, cardio hip-hop, bootcamp and yoga.
When Lundy opened Inspire Me Fit, she was working full-time at Rutgers University. After nine years at the university, she left Sept. 15.
“When I opened the studio, I knew I was going to leave Rutgers in a year. I was terrified. I have a mortgage. I have two kids, but I could no longer settle for what I was doing. I had to grow and it was weighing on me. I’m so happy. I still have challenges, but they’re my problems, so I’m up for the challenge,” she said.
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