Sometimes frustration over the lack of a product or service can lead to a new business venture.
Jean Chen Smith could never find a great group Pilates class in Corvallis when she visited her husband’s family on vacation.
After moving from the New York City area to Oregon this year, she decided to fill that void in the marketplace.
Chen Smith and her husband, Jason Smith, opened up Studio Cloud 9 in downtown Corvallis last week, and the business offers reformer Pilates, mat Pilates, yoga and mobility training classes.
“Pilates is good for lengthening, for people with all types of injuries. It’s not a hard-core cardio workout, but it builds length and strength and strengthens the core,” Chen Smith said.
There’s no other place in town with group reformer classes, and the machines promote correct form and comfort — though participants will still get a great workout.
Reformers are apparatus initially built by Pilates developer Joseph Pilates, and he designed them to help wounded soldiers recover from injuries. The original Pilates reformers were hospital beds.
Autumn Benton of Corvallis, a distance runner sponsored by apparel company Running Princess, took a Pilates class at Studio Cloud 9 for the first time last week. She said she enjoyed using the reformer, as it felt less risky than using free weights for strength training.
Elizabeth Hegstad of Corvallis said that the Cloud 9 reformer class was the first time she’s had fun in a workout. “It’s fantastic. It keeps your body in the correct position and makes it easy to do the work,” she added.
Chen Smith said that the group classes have a great vibe and energy that’s contagious.
She added that she likes to have a mix of techniques for her clients.
“No class is ever the same,” Chen Smith said. “There’s a wealth of knowledge out there.”
Chen Smith is an avid runner, but turned to Pilates nearly a decade ago, to recover from a fall that fractured her pelvis during marathon training. “I really couldn’t do any impact sports or really do too much walking,” she said.
After she returned to running, she continued to practice Pilates.
For 20 years, Chen Smith had commuted by bus to Manhattan, where she worked in the fashion industry. But she always enjoyed visiting Smith’s family near Wren, in part because she could run on the backcountry roads.
The couple had talked about retiring in Oregon, but Chen Smith was stressed and unhappy, and Smith’s tech sales job meant he could work anywhere. So they ramped up their timeline.
Renovations at the business, formerly the home of the Troubadour, took a few months. Smith and his father did much of the work themselves.
“This is an up-and-coming area. There’s really ample parking here compared to some parts of Corvallis,” Smith added.
Chen Smith also teaches at Timberhill Athletic Club and members there get 15 percent off classes and 10 percent off retail items at Studio Cloud 9.
Retail items at the business include all-natural beauty products, soaps and lotions, athletic apparel that can also be worn casually and more. Many of those products are from Oregon-based business.
Studio Cloud 9 is at 165 SW Washington Ave. in Corvallis. For more information, including a full class schedule, go to www.studiocloud9pilates.