published Friday, July 13th, 2012

Small Biz: Fitness studio offers food, exercise

Cycle instructor Kyle House prepares for his class at Thrive, a new fitness center on River Street, in the center's indoor cycling room. The studio is built on risers and features a state of the art sound and lighting system, including a disco ball, to motivate cyclers.
Cycle instructor Kyle House prepares for his class at Thrive, a new fitness center on River Street, in the center's indoor cycling room. The studio is built on risers and features a state of the art sound and lighting system, including a disco ball, to motivate cyclers.
Photo by Allison Love.

Name: Thrive Studio

Location: 191 River St. near Coolidge Park

Contact information: 423-800-0676, ThriveStudio.net

Age: One week

Products/services: Yoga classes, personal training, spinning classes featuring high-energy music and disco lights, exercise gear and a cafe with health-focused food. "We really wanted to make it unique," said co-owner Kimberly Gavin.

Getting started: Co-owners Gavin and Anna Mercer had exercised together for a long time and often found themselves headed to one place to work out, another to grab coffee and a third place for breakfast. "We realized there really was not one place to go for everything," Mercer said. She and Gavin soon started discussing how badly Chattanooga needed a place that met all those needs. "We were fantasizing and we thought, 'Why not?'"

Unique Spinning: One of the ways Thrive tries to set itself apart is with its spinning classes. The studio has 20 bikes, 10 of which are RealRyder bikes. Those stationary bikes move more like actual bikes, offering a full-body, higher-intensity workout. "It helps people remove themselves from what they've been doing all day," Mercer said. "If you can connect being happy with exercise, that's what we're looking for."

Biggest hurdle: Getting the right space. Thrive's owners looked around for a while before settling on their Coolidge Park site, but that was just the first struggle to overcome. The building needed to be entirely remodeled for the fitness studio, a process that took about six months. "It always costs more and takes longer than you think," Gavin said.

Future goals: In the coming years, Thrive's owners hope to grow their River Street location and possibly expand and open more sites. "We'll open wherever makes sense," co-owner Jeff Krupcale said. "It's a unique concept and because it's so unique, it has a lot of appeal in a lot of different markets."

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