June 7th, 2018—I remember this day like I remember my birthday. This was the day that family and close friends helped me prepare for so I could launch one of my biggest dreams: owning a fitness studio. Long days (and sometimes nights!) of cleaning, painting, planning, and designing all led to this moment.
I looked around the 986 square-foot studio that day as my heart did a dance of joy all its own. In a little over one month, we transformed the studio from chipped white and angry red paint with dirty gray carpet to white paint accented with Aruba blue, Kawai green, and solar storm orange with beautiful sea-blue carpet. Lives will be changed here, I thought. People will be inspired to reach their fitness goals the fun way.
Yes, I launched Island Time Fitness on June 7th, 2018 with a Zumba launch party: amazing guest instructors, supportive students, and tres leches cake. And I remember it like my birthday, because, well, it was my birthday!
The studio would be a major blessing, but I had no idea how many challenges would swing into my life.
When I opened Island Time, I was smart but a lot less wise. People have told me I’m a great negotiator, but business savvy includes much more than negotiation. As soon as my doors opened, I expected people to flock to my studio and pack my classes like a sold-out concert...
That didn’t happen.
Instead, I went nearly an entire month with only one member and a few visitors—but you know what? I gave my all, every single time, even when I only had one person in my class. What my first month as a studio owner taught me is that the value of a class is measured not by how many students are there, but rather by how much the instructor impacts each student. I trusted God when he said that “one who is faithful in little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). I had to reach the smaller classes before I could expect to sustain the larger ones!
Classes grew over time, but class numbers fluctuated too. Life throws surprises at us all—I never knew how long someone would be part of the Island Time family. Some members stayed for one month; others, two years and counting. I always say that I’m grateful for every person who takes a class. People matter so much more to me and the team than dollar signs.
We faced other challenges as well, as I didn’t have the millions of dollars that big-name gyms have to advertise and draw people to their gyms. We also were on the back side of a mall where most of our street traffic was parents eager for their kids to finish the driver's-ed class for the day—rarely did we find people passing by who would sign up for a class. And then the pandemic hit, which launched a new series of challenges (more on that in a later post).
Yet have and continue to impact the community. Since its founding, Island Time has hosted at least 27 events, including Zumba Masterclasses from some of the best instructors around, Ladies Spirit Refresh, Zumbathons to raise money for those in need, and Customer Appreciation events. We’ve hosted an original Kids’ Dance and Travel Writer’s summer camp as well. People of every age have had a chance to enjoy classes, from age 0-99.
Although we may not have a permanent location right now (and although I’m pregnant), Island Time classes are continuing! I am so grateful for our team and to say that we celebrate our three-year anniversary this month.
I know I’m not a professional dancer. I’m a writer, but I believe in using the different gifts that God gives us at the right time in life. My love for people and exercise dance led me to launch Island Time, and I pray that my business reaches many more people in the years to come! And when we do have a permanent location again, it will be even sweeter than before because of all the hardships we’ve come through.
To the Island Time Fitness fam, Happy Anniversary <3
Where group fitness is as much fun as a vacation…
Where faith and fitness intertwine…
Where every age is welcome…
That’s Island Time Fitness!
Three is a magic number, they say. Three is a blessed number more importantly, and I truly believe that this third anniversary is where our greatest blessings begin.