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Meet Allison McCurdy of The Bar Method Point Loma

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison McCurdy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started my career in marketing over 20 years ago. For 12 of those years, I worked in sales, business development and marketing both domestic and international. Once my husband and I were into our early thirties we realized that my career lifestyle of long commutes and a lot of travel would be a tough challenge with kids, so we decided to take a leap of faith and open a business. While my husband remained in real estate, my heart and mind were drawn toward my favorite hobby: health and fitness.

A friend introduced me to The Bar Method in 2006 and two years later, I opened the first studio in San Diego. Since we opened in 2008, an additional 98 studios have opened around the U.S. and Canada, so I am grateful to have been one of the early adopters of barre fitness and “boutique fitness”. I love owning a small business because unlike corporate marketing, I see the impact that our service makes on each person that walks through the door every day. Our staff and clients have created an amazing community of women that support each other in so many ways and keep each other accountable. Many have grown new friendships and networks.

I feel empowered by my business and proud of my staff every day for helping women grow stronger, more confident, and feel beautiful both inside and out. I also get to use my studio as a facility for fundraisers and partnerships for other brands that help people to develop or embrace “health” as a daily lifestyle in a world with many unhealthy choices.

Our method of exercise takes commitment and discipline and once you start your journey, you cannot turn back. The Bar Method and my “job” (I am so lucky to call it a job) has physically reshaped my body, always boosts my spirits, and feeds my soul each and every day! What more could I ask for from a career?

Has it been a smooth road?
Owning a small business is always a challenge. Coming from a background of both startups and mature companies, I have an appreciation for any business challenge…however, I must admit it’s nice when you receive a paycheck regardless of how much work you put in that day. With a small business, every day counts and every minute you spend must focus on how to keep your business thriving. If you take your eye off the ball, you see it in your sales.

The first struggle we encountered as a new business was the economic crash of 2008 – the same month the banks collapsed, we opened our studio. But we were already tied to a 7-year lease. Failure was not an option. So, we put our heads down and with a combination of many long days, perseverance and luck, we created a very popular workout spot in Point Loma!

Another big challenge for me along the way was (and still is) being a full-time parent of two in addition to running a business that is open 7 days a week. The balancing act is no joke. Your business needs your attention. And so does your family. So does your marriage. And your friends and siblings…the list goes on.

Interestingly, San Diego is a REALLY tough market to offer fitness indoors. For a place that has the amount of sunshine we do, people don’t need to be inside, so figuring out how to compete with sun and beach will always be a conundrum…I mean it’s why we live in San Diego right? Ideas welcome!!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the The Bar Method Point Loma story. Tell us more about the business.
I am part of a franchise brand called The Bar Method. I am one of four locations in San Diego, but there are over 100 throughout the U.S. and Canada. We are known for being the most effective low impact group fitness class geared towards women. We specialize in women and sculpting strong and lean bodies in addition to improving posture and mental strength. Our form of fitness is considered “barre” based because we use a ballet bar in the room for stretching, balance and leverage. The best part is you can create a body like a dancer, but you don’t have to know anything about dance! We pride ourselves on catering to all ages and levels of fitness and being able to efficiently and effectively teach a one-on-one style in a group environment so you feel like you have a personal trainer. We are extremely safe and use a physical therapist to design every exercise. We know all of our clients by name and coach them individually throughout the class both verbally and physically to make sure they are safe, working to their potential, and genuinely improving their practice. We have a very unique community of women in each studio that support each other inside and outside of class. I would say that the combined experience is what makes The Bar Method stand apart from other fitness studios.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Our industry has seen a lot of shift in the past 5 years because “boutique” fitness is all the rage. Whether you like spin, Pilates, yoga or boot camp, there is something for everyone – as long as you can pay the premium. As the different brands grow and take market share, I believe we will see large corporations move in and acquire smaller brands – a bit like the 1990’s when large beer companies began acquiring microbreweries.

The challenge this will pose is fast growth is tough to manage in and industry let alone fitness. The loyalty to brands is often the small community experience, consistency and focus on quality not quantity. If merging does occur, they put their entire brand at risk of losing the factors that made it a success. In addition, in the fitness industry, it’s the responsibility of the brand to keep bodies safe and it only takes a small bad experience or injury to lose a client to that entire form of fitness – not just the brand.

Online and mobile fitness has certainly and will continue to chip away at brick and mortar fitness. Whether you invest in Pelaton or love to try different workouts from your crowd favorite like Jillian Michaels, fitness has changed forever. It’s in your pocket. Anytime. Anywhere.

What I don’t think will change is actual forms of fitness. They simply reinvent themselves. For example, The Bar Method was started by our visionary founder Burr Leonard, who developed it from The Lotte Berk Method which has been around for 50+ years! The foundations for fitness exist and we will simply see more combining of strong methods to create new workouts. At the end of the day, forms of fitness always seem to have multiple lives…it has to evolve as people’s bodies and interests evolve.

Pricing:

  • New clients: Try your first 10 days for $10 the try another 30 days for only $100
  • Club Bar monthly membership for unlimited classes: $125/month
  • Class packs: 5 classes for $105, 10 classes for $195, or 25 classes for $425

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
France Photographers

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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