Crystal Wojciechowski fell in love the minute she took her first Pure Barre class in Northern Virginia in 2014.
There was just something about it that appealed to her, spoke to her mind and body and kept drawing her back.
“I had never done it before. When I did it, I just loved it,” she says.
Wojciechowski has degenerative disc disease and found that Pure Barre classes were just what she needed to feel better. She kept taking classes and found herself hooked, wanting to take it further.
“I loved the community so much, I wanted to do more,” Wojciechowski says.
She did more. Lots more. Fast-forward to today, and Wojciechowski is the owner of two Pure Barres in Hampton Roads, one in Newport News and one in Chesapeake. She left her job as an affordable housing advocate on Capitol Hill in 2018 and decided to pursue Pure Barre full time.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” she says.
Wojciechowski and her husband, James, researched the company and possible locations. When they saw that Newport News was on the available market list, they just knew it was meant to be. They opened the Pure Barre location across from Christopher Newport University (CNU) in May. She did not intend to have another one, but the franchise enlisted her to take over the Chesapeake Pure Barre in April.
Wojciechowski is from Newport News and is a 2007 graduate of CNU, so for her, the placement across from the campus was absolutely ideal. The building her Pure Barre is in is actually owned by the University’s Real Estate Foundation. That is a fact that is not lost on Wojciechowski.
“It’s amazing how life is circular,” she says. “I love to pay my rent to the foundation, and it’s just really cool to look out and see the University. It’s a nice feeling.”
There are 520 Pure Barres spread across the country. They are all independently owned and operated. All of the teachers at Pure Barre are corporately trained, so there is consistency at all of the studios.
Pure Barre is a boutique fitness studio. Wojciechowski explains it as being “core work, isometric movements, ballet inspired, low impact and high intensity.”
“It strengthens all the muscle groups,” she says.
There are three class formats: classic, cardio and reform, inspired by Pilates and centered on strength training.
“The three classes combine to give you very well-rounded fitness,” Wojciechowski says. “They are all a little different. There is consistency, but every workout is different.”
The studio attracts all ages and very diverse demographics, she says. Clients have formed a wonderful community at Pure Barre. The studio has its own book club and also hosts events such as Wine Down Wednesdays.
“We work out together and support one another,” Wojciechowski says. “There is no judgment here.”
Typically, about 95 percent of Pure Barre clients use the studio’s classes as their primary source of workouts, she says.
The studio is 800 square feet. It is framed with ballet bars and has special non-absorbing carpeting. The classes are musically driven, with teachers wearing microphones so everyone can hear. The studio’s most popular classes are at 5 and 6 am. Classes are held all day and can accommodate up to 25 clients.
“Our classes are low impact, but you can really challenge yourself,” Wojciechowski says. “You still sweat and get a hard workout.”
The studio also has a small retail side, selling clothing and Pure Barre accessories.
Wojciechowski is pleased at how well Pure Barre has been received in Hampton Roads. She is always looking for ways to improve and grow the business.
“We are in a really good place,” she says. “We are still a fledgling business and we can grow significantly.”
All it takes, Wojciechowski says, is for a client to take a class and realize all of its benefits. It’s not long before that client comes back for more and more, just like she herself did in the beginning.
“There is a secret sauce to Pure Barre. Not sure what it is, but it’s very special,” she says.
TO THE POINT:
Address: 12368 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Crystal Wojciechowski, owner