This blog post is part of Local First’s Measure What Matters series, where we interview businesses that have taken the Quick Impact Assessment, and learn about how the assessment has helped them use their business as a force for good and be Good for Grand Rapids.
The Barre Code is a boutique fitness studio that offers barre workouts, which incorporate strength training, cardio and restorative stretching. Stacie Thomas, owner of the Grand Rapids Heritage Hill location, opened her studio in March 2018 with a mission of empowering women and helping them become the best version of themselves.
A Michigan native, Thomas moved to Chicago after graduating from Western Michigan University. While living in Chicago, Thomas discovered The Barre Code after hopping around to different fitness studios. She fell in love with The Barre Code because of how community driven it was, and that its mission was focused on women empowerment. Soon enough, Thomas auditioned to become an instructor and moved back Michigan in late 2015 to open her own studio in Grand Rapids.
“It was important for us to be part of a community where we could thrive. We landed in Grand Rapids because we thought it would be a great place to live and start a business,” said Thomas. “It’s our goal to be a one-stop shop for women looking for a versatile workout that fits their unique fitness needs. We want women to walk into our studio feeling comfortable and knowing that they will get a workout that makes them feel good inside and out.”
Shortly after opening her business, Thomas connected with Local First and learned about the Quick Impact Assessment (QIA) and Good for Grand Rapids. Thomas said the QIA served as a helpful tool as she started her business, and that Good for Grand Rapids felt like an authentic way to connect with the community.
“The Quick Impact Assessment was a good way to start conversations within my business regarding employment, sustainability and community engagement. Sometimes as a new business owner, you only see what’s right in front of you – whether it’s a new opportunity or an obstacle – and the Quick Impact Assessment helped me take a step back and look at the big picture,” said Thomas. “The Quick Impact Assessment helped me think proactively about my business and identify our strengths and weaknesses. It also offered goals that we could easily implement as a new business, like reducing our waste and using eco-friendly cleaning products.”
One of the top goals for Thomas’ business is connecting with the community and offering a gym that welcomes all people. Since opening in March, Thomas has offered free neighborhood classes and donation-based classes that support local nonprofits. The Barre Code has also partnered with Matthew Agency, a West Michigan-based model and talent agency, to offer body positivity programs for women.
Thomas is also passionate about supporting local businesses. Thomas encourages her members to shop local by giving them a 30 percent discount on retail items for bringing in a receipt from a small business that The Barre Code nominates each month. She also has collaborated with local artists to feature their artwork in her studio.
“My advice to anyone thinking about taking the Quick Impact Assessment is to step back and take a look at all areas of your business with an open mind. The Quick Impact Assessment offers a way to shed more light on your business and answer important questions you probably haven’t thought about yet,” said Thomas.
Interested in learning how your business performs against best practices on employee, community and environmental impact? Take the Quick Impact Assessment today to learn how much good your business is doing for the local economy and community at localfirst.com/sustainability/measure-what-matters.