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20200609 Hiway Renderings.indd

Hiway breaks ground on new location in Roseville

Posted on 15 July 2020 by Tesha Christensen

A new credit union with optional self-service technologies and a coffee shop will open next year in Roseville. Hiway Federal Credit Union broke ground at 2471 Fairview Ave. N. on June 25, 2020. “We offer great digital services that allow our members to do so many things remotely, but we continue to hear that they’d like to see more locations,” said Hiway President and CEO Dave Boden. “Even in our digital age, people still want that face-to-face, personal service.”

The $1.25B, St. Paul-based Hiway, a full suite provider of consumer and business financial services, has operated with limited branch locations for many years. Dave Boden, President and CEO, said that even with all the online and mobile banking technologies available at Hiway, the time was right to increase the credit union’s brick-and-mortar presence.

“We offer great digital services that allow our members to do so many things remotely, but we continue to hear that they’d like to see more locations,” said Boden. “Even in our digital age, people still want that face-to-face, personal service. The new branch is a wonderful opportunity for us to respond to our membership and bring Hiway’s market-leading products and services to a new area.”

The new branch will feature top amenities, including optional self-service technologies, drive-up lanes, a 24-hour ATM, and ample parking. In addition, Hiway is seeking a food and beverage partner to share the space, adding to the experience for members and the public.

The credit union, a multi-year winner of the Star Tribune’s Top Workplace honors, has a long history of award-winning community involvement, including robust financial education programs and student-run high school branches. Boden says they are eager to make an impact in Roseville.

“It’s important to us to support our home communities, and we are looking forward to strengthening that commitment in Roseville and the surrounding areas,” he said.

 

ABOUT HIWAY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
Hiway Federal Credit Union was founded in 1931 to serve the employees of the Minnesota Highway Department. Today, Hiway serves an expanded member base, with over 77,000 members in Minnesota and nationwide, registers $1.25 billion in assets and welcomes new membership from individuals and small businesses. Hiway offers its members unparalleled service and value “on the road of life” through lower loan rates, higher savings rates and fewer and lower fees. For more information about Hiway, visit hiway.org.

 

IN SHORT:

HiWAY Credit Union, Roseville Branch.  Projected opening first quarter 2021.

Site:  2.0 acres

Main Level:  9,900 square feet.  
– The lobby of this Credit Union will look different.  It will include Interactive Teller Machines (ITM’s) in place of a teller line (COVID-19-friendly).  Member Service Reps will be there to create long term partnerships with the citizens of Roseville, to help them will their life financial needs.
– The Credit Union will have a 3-lane drive-up.
– The Credit Union will share it’s lobby, waiting and 2-sided fireplace with a Coffee Shop.
– The Coffee Shop will have a drive-up and after-hour access when the Credit Union is closed.
– There will be a 25-person Business Center, open to the community.
– There will be a 12-person Conference room, open to the community.

Upper Level:  7,700 square feet.
– The upper level will be used for building services; employee lounge, toilets, mechanical/electrical room, storage, as well as future growth space for the Credit Union.

Information from Jeff Pflipsen, President, HTG Architects

 

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Q&A with Otis Zanders of Ujamaa Place

Posted on 25 June 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By Elena Vaughn

Otis Zanders of Ujaama Place

Otis Zanders has had enough. “As the CEO of an organization that serves the most marginalized population in society, African American men, aged 18-30, Ujamaa Place (1821 University Ave. W. n187, St. Paul) serves on the front lines of the war on injustice by helping men navigate systemic poverty and racism, connection to the criminal justice system, homelessness and unemployment.”

What is the current situation as you see it?

Our nation has been in crisis for decades.  George Floyd’s murder was where the world said enough is enough and [it] happened at a time when the world was stood still from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Why are we here? What factors brought us to this point in time?

Our hearts are broken from the generational trauma and human rights atrocities that our people have suffered for 400 years since the recording of the first slave ship’s arrival in the U.S. We must allow the voices and strength of our ancestors to guide us through these unprecedented times and the challenging waters ahead.

 

How can white people support the Black Lives Matter movement? Can you define what “ally” means to you?

Allies can support us by denouncing racism and inequality in all forms.  An “ally” is a human being.  There is one race, the human race.

 

What needs to change in Minnesota to address the systematic racism?

NOW is the time to strategize ways to confront systemic racism in every form of injustice that exists in Minnesota. We have to change. History is being written that will teach future generations that freedom and equality is not a given. We must fight for it.  Starting NOW, Minnesota must stand on the right side of history.

 

What is your reaction to the peaceful protests and the looting?

As the son of sharecroppers from the Mississippi Delta, I witnessed firsthand at a very young age, the clear connection between the legacy of slavery and American Capitalism. Today as a husband, father, and CEO of Ujamaa Place, I still see the ways in which the legacy of slavery lives on through systemic racism and plays out in the everyday lives of African Americans. We pray that the solidarity we are witnessing from around the world is a sign that we are collectively ready to pluck the ugly root of systemic racism for good. We regret that it took the murders of George Floyd, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others for people to finally be fed up. We stand on mighty shoulders that taught us freedom and justice is not a given, and that we must continue to teach each generation to fight for equality.

 

Watch the YouTube video of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. explain why people protest.  “A Riot Is The Language of the Unheard.” There is no enjoyment derived from watching a city burned or looted.

 

In 1968, Martin Luther King asked “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” How do you see the impact of these protests carrying on King’s legacy?  Where do we go from here as a community?

 

The world witnessed George Floyd take his last breath as the knee of a white police officer lay on his neck restricting his airways, with members of the community pleading for his life. This was a reminder that we are not yet FREE from the bonds of slavery. The institution of slavery and its byproducts – racism, inequality, poverty and injustice are alive and well in our society today. This is why at Ujamaa Place, we focus on teaching our men to navigate systems of racism and ways to eliminate roadblocks that perpetuate inequality.

 

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D10 Food Drive

Dock & Paddle open at pavilion

Posted on 09 June 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Michael Kutchta

District 10 Como Community Council

By Michael Kuchta,
Executive Director
district10@district10comopark.org

Dock & Paddle
The restaurant in the Como Lakeside Pavilion opened June 5 with a new name – and at least one feature that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Dock & Paddle (which is under the same management as last year’s version of Spring Café) debuted in a scaled-back version in order to meet the outdoor dining limits required under state pandemic restrictions. 
The initial menu started with grill fare such as sandwiches and burgers, a children’s menu, and locally sourced salads. Dock & Paddle’s biggest coup, however, is an exclusive arrangement with the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. The Guild will curate a rotating selection of brews from around the state. That means Dock & Paddle will serve beers on tap that are rare – or even impossible – to find in the Twin Cities. Dock & Paddle intends to open weekdays 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

‘Como Kindness’ lawn signs
Our first printing sold out in the first weekend, but “Como Kindness Dwells Here” lawn signs are available once again. The design, by Como artist Monique Hussey, was chosen after the Como Community Council put out a community call for ideas.
After the district council covers costs, proceeds go to the Como Park block nurse program, which works to handle the health-care and everyday needs of neighborhood seniors. Suggested donation is $15. Order yours at: www.district10comopark.org/kindness.html

Bird sightings in park soar
There are a lot more bird species around Como Lake and the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom than there used to be, according to a newly released report. The new bird survey, carried out by 15 community volunteers from February 2019 through January 2020, counted 109 species around the lake and 80 species in the Woodland. That’s a big increase from 2006, when a similar survey counted only 84 species around the lake and 48 species in the Woodlands.
Get a full summary of the survey, including comparison tables, on District 10’s website.

The Como Community Council collected 25 car loads of food and household supplies May 31 donated by neighborhood residents. The donations were distributed to food drives being organized by other district councils in Frogtown, Hamline Midway, and on the East Side. (Photo by Jill Henricksen)

Updates to be aware of
• New Apartment Building: The city council was scheduled to vote June 10 on whether to approve rezoning 1015 Bandana Blvd. from B3 commercial to T3 traditional, to allow construction of a 152-unit apartment building atop the existing parking ramp. The city’s Planning Commission voted 12-0 on May 1 to recommend the rezoning.
• Another Rezoning Request: The city’s Planning Commission voted unanimously May 29 to recommend rezoning 978 Front Ave. from B2 community business to T2 traditional neighborhood. The property, at the southwest corner of Front and Chatsworth, now is mixed use – with a dog-training business on the first floor and residential on the second floor. The property’s owners say the rezoning would give them more residential options than they have now. The request now goes to a public hearing and vote before the city council.
• Get Appointed: Saint Paul currently has 20 committees, commissions, and specialized boards that have vacancies just waiting for the right community volunteers. Some of the vacancies are set aside exclusively for members of the Como neighborhood. Take a look at the District 10 website for an overview of what’s available, where to find out what the panels do, and how you could apply. Among the most timely: The Saint Paul Charter Commission is taking applications for nine vacancies: seven of them are four-year terms that begin Aug. 1, two are existing vacancies that run until July 31, 2022. Applications are due June 17.
• High School Gets Sign Variance: The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved zoning variances May 18 that will allow Como Park Senior High School to mount new outdoor signs as part of the school’s multi-year renovation. The main variance allows the school to mount a 10-by-12-foot version of its Cougar logo 60 feet up the chimney, facing the intersection of Rose and Grotto. The other, smaller signs would be the school’s name and address over the main entrance. The signs are not lighted.

Online voting ends June 16
Community members in District 10 have until Tuesday June 16 to request a ballot and vote online in the 2020 board elections for the Como Community Council. Because of pandemic restrictions, there is no in-person voting this year. All voting is absentee.
Ballots can be requested at: www.district10comopark.org/ballot_request.html. Community members can request an online ballot until 5 p.m. June 16; voting closes at 7 p.m.
Renters, homeowners, and other residents of District 10 who are at least 16 years old can vote. Information about candidates is available on District 10’s website.

Call or video into D10 meetings
District 10 board and committee meetings are continuing but, for the time being, they take place using technology rather than face to face. To obtain links, phone numbers, or other information to join a meeting remotely, send a request by email to district10@district10comopark.org. Or, call in your request to 651-644-3889.
Upcoming meetings:
• Annual meeting: June 16
• Land Use: July 1
• Neighborhood Relations: July 7
• Environment: July 8
All meetings begin at 7 p.m.

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Tree Frogs, 2020 elections

Posted on 09 June 2020 by Tesha Christensen

‘Tree Frogs’ aim to plant 1,000 trees

Did you know that by planting a tree, you can increase your home’s value by up to 20%? That’s a fact, according to the US Forest Service.
“A mature tree also can also improve your health by cleansing the air you breathe; lower anxiety; and produce more sociable neighborhoods,” says neighborhood tree advocate Aaron Backs. “And in Frogtown, these benefits can be had for free.”
Backs is working this summer with the Tree Frogs, an all-volunteer group of Frogtown residents whose ambitious goal is to plant 1,000 new trees in the neighborhood. “Frogtown has the lowest tree canopy of any residential neighborhood in the city,” Backs explains. “We’ll be giving away and planting 70 new shade and fruit trees in Frogtown yards this summer, which will bring our total so far up to 520. We hope to reach 1,000 trees by 2025.”
The Tree Frogs’ efforts, supported this year by a grant from the Forest Service, will concentrate heavily on Frogtown rental properties, which tend to have fewer trees. Landlords and homeowners can choose among maple, linden, apple pear and cherry trees. “The Tree Frogs will help you select a good site and will get the utilities marked before we plant your tree in the fall,” Backs says.
For more information, visit the Frogtown Green website, www.frogtowngreen.com or call 651-757-5970.

 

‘2020 Elections: Protected or Infected?’

The League of Women Voters St. Paul (LWVSP), with support from the St. Paul Neighborhood Network, are partnering to present “2020 Elections: Protected or Infected?” a free program on Tuesday, June 30, 6:30-8 p.m.
In the interest of public health and safety, this will be a virtual event. The event will be cablecast on LWVSP’s Facebook page, as well as SPNN channel 19.  Interested participants can register on the LWVSP website, (www.lwvsp.org). The program will be recorded for future viewing.
As Minnesota finds itself dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the League is working to ensure that all voters have an opportunity to learn how this has affected legislation this session, especially regarding bills addressing voting and elections. The event will feature a discussion between Nick Harper, Civic Engagement Director for the League of Women Voters Minnesota, and Junior Alvados of Minnesota Voice, a coalition of non-profit organizations working toward permanent change in racial, social, and economic justice by increasing civic engagement and voter participation across the state, especially focused in underrepresented communities.

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Donate to Midway businesses

Posted on 04 June 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Over 100 businesses in the Midway were damaged on Thursday, May 28, 2020 during civil unrest.

Photo by Tesha M. Christensen

The following fundraisers will benefit local businesses:

Midway Chamber of Commerce – We Love the Midway: http://www.midwaychamber.com/we-love-midway

Neighbors United Funding Collaborative: https://midwayunited.org/

Bole Ethiopian: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rebuilding-bole-ethiopian-cuisine

Lloyd’s Pharmacy: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lloyd039s-pharmacy-rebuilding-fund-st-paul-riots

 

 

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ValerieCastilleJustice

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There’s only one race, and that’s the human race

Posted on 30 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Valerie Castile (photo courtesy Philando Castile Relief Foundation)

By Margie O’Loughlin

Valerie Castile became known to the wider world when her son Philando was murdered by a St. Anthony police officer almost four years ago.
In a recent phone interview, she said, “This has been been a really emotional time for my whole family, since George Floyd was killed. If someone does something wrong, it’s their civil liberty to have their day in court. There’s no reason to take a human life unless you are sure that person is trying to kill you. I mean, really trying to kill you – and George Floyd was lying handcuffed with his face in the street.”

Learn more about the Philando Castile Relief Foundation here: http://www.philandocastilefoundation.org/

In the years since her son’s death, Castile has built a foundation to help victims affected by gun violence and police violence. The Philando Castile Relief Fund helps families of victims with funeral attire and resources for grief counseling, among other things.
Castile, who talks regularly with elected officials about issues related to policing, community relations, and use of force spoke with Governor Walz the day after Floyd’s murder. She told him, “People are going to rebel. I was so angry. Somewhere there’s a piece of paper 30’ long with all the names of people killed by police in this city. It’s too much to take.”

She continued, “Everybody is trying to understand how things got so out of control with the riots. It seems like when the anger comes in, common sense goes right out the window. We’ve got to remember that there’s only one race, and that’s the human race. If enough of us continue to work on this together, something IS going to change.”

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‘I can’t breathe’

Posted on 30 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Photo by Abha Karnick

Hamline graduate Abha Karnick wrote this poem after speaking with a mother at Cup Foods earlier this week. View the images she has taken in the Monitor Facebook page.

 

I can’t breathe

I watched his last breath. Millions of people soon would as well.
I can’t breathe.
He was murdered on my block next to the bus I ride, in front of my children, in front of the world.
I can’t breathe.
Crowds gathered and my eyes glistened. Glistened with tears, glistened with light from the fires, glistened with hurt and fear and anger.
I can’t breathe.
My city was burning, my people were scattering, my world was shattering. Yelling, cursing, crying. In one ear and out the other, or so it seemed. My senses overwhelmed, my grief inexplicable.
I can’t breathe.
The haze drifted like fog, blocking the view of the city, clouding the hearts of the oppressed. The unheard were here, they were pleading. I was pleading. Let them be heard.
I can’t breathe.
Flowers, thousands, lay on the streets. Graffiti lined the walls of the train and the businesses. “Fuck the 12” “Black Lives Matter” “Society awakens”
I can’t breathe.
This is my city. My city. I ache as history again repeats, never letting up as injustice hits the streets. Ashes from the fires settled on lawns and houses, asking to be seen, needing to be seen.
I can’t breathe.
When will future history books remove the white-authoritative narrative and choose truth? Oh, Minneapolis.

Oh, Minneapolis. I can’t breathe.

 

 

South Minneapolis writer and photographer, Abha Karnick

Abha Karnick is a south Minneapolis resident with East Indian roots who graduated from Hamline University in 2019. Abha grew up in the Twin Cities and found her passions in music, photography, and writing. She has pieces published with CAAL, MNAsianStories, and HER Online Journal, and her passion lies in storytelling and finding the moments to capture. Her writing is best known for pulling at the heartstrings of her community as she dives deep into both the emotion and lives of both herself and those around her.

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Check Facebook, Instagram for updates

Posted on 30 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Readers, the Midway Como Frogtown Monitor is regularly posting to its Instagram and Facebook accounts as we follow this rapidly evolving situation in our community. We welcome letters, photos, comments, and more to help us as we continue our hyper local coverage. ~ Editor and owner Tesha M. Christensen, Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/monitorsaintpaul/

Instagram: midway_como_monitor

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Q&A: Resiliency at St. Paul College

Q&A: Resiliency at St. Paul College

Posted on 13 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

All courses at Saint Paul College (235 Marshall Ave.) moved to remote delivery approaches in response to the COVID-19 situation. Some of the technical, service and health sciences programs require face-to-face instruction, which may resume later this summer, according to St. Paul College Interim President Deidra Peaslee. Almost all of the students returned to class April 6 after the extended spring break.

The St. Paul College International Student Coordinator meets with international students to check in on how they are doing and provide any support they may need.

– How has COVID19 and the Stay at Home order affected the college?

As with everyone, the coronavirus (COVID-19) and Stay at Home Order have affected every aspect of the life of Saint Paul College.  We  feel very fortunate, however, to have been declared an essential service so that our students can successfully complete their spring term courses and continue their college education this summer and next fall.

– How have you changed your offerings for students in light of the COIVD-19 situation?

All of the course instruction and support services at Saint Paul College were moved to remote delivery approaches in March.  Our last  in-person courses were March 14.  The last day on-campus for all faculty and staff was Friday, March 20.  By March 25, our student support services resumed operations using remote delivery approaches.  Our classes resumed remotely on Monday, April 6.  Some of our technical, service and health sciences programs require face-to-face instruction so we’re hoping those classes can complete their remaining components later this summer.  From early on, the College has also communicated and posted on our website a wide range of resources to help our students, faculty and staff as they switch to remote instruction, service provision and learning.  That included access to free and low-cost Internet access, computers, and a wide range of community resources to help themselves and their families during this very challenging time.

– What factors have gone into your decisions?

   All our decisions in response to the coronavirus have focused on two goals:

  • First and foremost, keeping all students, faculty and staff safe and healthy by strictly following the latest recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Second, providing every means possible for current students to complete their Spring Term courses successfully.

– How are students managing things and what are you hearing from them?

Yes, we have been hearing from them.  First, almost all of them returned after their extended Spring Break to resume learning when classes restarted remotely on April 6.  Second, our students have been amazingly resilient, not just in finishing their courses, but handling the many other challenges the coronavirus and Stay at Home Order have imposed on them and, in many cases, their children and extended family as well.  Many of them have lost their employment in addition to having new responsibilities for supporting their children in K-12 schools learning remotely.  Some of them also have faced health challenges either their own or within their extended families.  Whenever Saint Paul College has learned of a student, faculty or staff member contracting the coronavirus, we have reached out to express our concern for them and to provide them information to a wide range of resources that can help them during their recovery. 

– What have you heard from educators ?

Our faculty and staff have quite simply been extraordinary.  Saint Paul College’s faculty and staff have long been known and admire for their dedication to supporting students and helping them be successful.  That’s never shown itself more than over the past number of weeks.  It has, of course, been a very stressful time for all of us as we address this new challenge with very little time to prepare and lots of new information flowing almost constantly since early March.  But I couldn’t be more pleased or proud of how the Saint Paul College faculty and staff have pulled together to keep our instruction and support for students moving forward with quality and integrity despite all the challenges in moving rapidly to new teaching and service delivery approaches.

– How do you see this affecting your industry as a whole and what concerns you?

This, of course, is the key question facing all of society as we move through this pandemic.  What does the future hold?  As with any  major event, particularly one reaching every corner of our globe, I’m sure the coronavirus will have long-term and very significant ramifications for higher education.  Beyond the short-term challenges we’ve faced already, we’ll have financial ramifications like most organizations.  Saint Paul College is extremely fortunate to have built significant reserves that will be very helpful in balancing our budgets and maintaining our staffing levels over the next few years.  In the medium term, we’re working hard to assure we can maintain utmost quality in our instruction and support services during our Summer and Fall Terms.  We anticipate it may be some while before we can resume all of the on-campus, face-to-face instruction and services we enjoyed until mid-March.  But having nearly completed Spring Term with only a couple of weeks to prepare, I’m confident we’ll do even better in preparing for Fall Term. I also think that, over the long term, all of us in higher education will take away many lessons from this experience including how we can serve students with alternative approaches to our traditional face-to-face delivery, maintain flexibility and agility in responding to crises and find new ways to work together successfully even though we can’t do so on-campus right now.

 

 

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Q&A with Defining You Pilates and Fitness

Q&A with Defining You Pilates and Fitness

Posted on 13 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Defining You Pilates and Fitness owner Suzy Levi teaches a class via Zoom. (Photo submitted)

Defining You Pilates and Fitness (550 Vandalia St.) quickly transitioned to a virtual studio format in March, pointed out owner Suzy Levi. The studio is offering 3-4 live group classes daily (mat pilates, yoga, barre, strength and HIIT formats), and has a Zoom library for members. Memberships and class sampler packs are available at several different rates starting at $19.99. There are also free weekly workouts on the studio’s YouTube channel.
Defining You is collaborating with an innovative fitness collective effort locally called Sweat Minnesota. This grassroots partnership of Twin Cities fitness pros and studios hosts a free line-up of all types of classes every other Saturday, and Defining You has hosted three classes on Facebook Live.

– How has COVID19 and the Stay at Home order affected your business?

Fortunately Defining You Pilates and Fitness was able to quickly transition to a Virtual studio format upon learning of Governor’s mandate on March 16.

Several days after temporarily closing our brick-and-mortar studio in Vandalia Tower we were up-and-running with virtual group classes on Zoom, for some of our Pilates Mat and Fitness Classes. Unfortunately our clients are missing out on our fabulous Pilates Reformer and Tower classes that utilize our apparatus equipment, which is all housed at the studio.

We’re grateful to so many of our loyal clients for sticking with us through this tough patch, enabling us to serve  people through fitness and ultimately working to support the greater community’s physical health and emotional wellbeing.

 

This pandemic brings to the forefront how important maintaining your health is, as a defense against the virus. Exercise and movement is essential to our wellbeing and we are thrilled we can provide this to our clients and our greater community.

 

– What do your current operations look like and when will you reopen?

  • Defining You has pivoted to a Virtual studio format and we’ve been up and running on Zoom for the last 6 weeks. Every day, we offer several live virtual group classes to bring our community together to move more, protect our health, support one another and stay connected. Classes include mat Pilates, Yoga, Barre, Strength and HIIT formats.
  • As an added benefit, DYF members have access to our Zoom library of virtual classes. So if they miss a favorite class, they can catch it at a later date/time. Or, if there is a class they love, they can run through it as many times as they like! We’ve heard from members that the Defining You Zoom library is a valuable offering, particularly during quarantine. We also offer pre-recorded virtual Sampler Packs of 3- or 5-classes for purchase for non-members.
  • We offer private training sessions virtually for individuals who appreciate one-on-one  support from our certified Pilates teachers and functional fitness trainers.
  • And, we’re publishing free weekly workouts on our You Tube channel. These range from HIIT to Pilates to our latest Big Ball workout that utilizes an extra-large exercise ball!
  • Fortunately we’re also collaborating with an innovative fitness collective effort locally called Sweat Minnesota. This grassroots partnership of Twin Cities fitness pros and studios hosts a free line up of all types of classes every-other Saturday, with their next event on May 16. Defining You has hosted three Sweat Minnesota classes on Facebook Live and anyone can visit our Facebook account and enjoy these free classes as well.
  • We have a plan in place to reopen as soon as Governor Walz gives us the green light and we’re working behind the scenes to make sure the studio space is ready and that our team is well prepared. Once the restrictions are lifted, our strategy is to reopen Defining You in stages; we will take it slow and be cautious being mindful and following the COVID-19 guidelines established by the Department of Health and the CDC.

 

– Did you secure a PPP loan or other assistance and how does that affect things for you?

As a St. Paul small business owner, I have applied for a PPP loan and a couple of other loans. I am still waiting to hear and am hopeful something will come through to help sustain the studio through the shutdown and the following 12 months as we anticipate it will take awhile to return operations to pre-COVID19.

 

– How many staff did you go into this with and what is the current situation? How are they managing things? 

Our operations staff of four has not been impacted, yet.

Our instructors and trainers have scaled back on teaching given we reduced our daily class schedule to three to four classes a day, compared to eight to 10 classes during pre-Coronavirus times.

Our staff is managing fairly well and we know we’re stronger together. We have ongoing check-in Zoom calls to support each other. This is a very tight network of thoughtful individuals who care very much for one another as well as our clients.

 

– How do you see this affecting your industry as a whole and what concerns you?

  • I know many small boutique studios and micro gyms  are hurting financially today, we are all trying to figure this out together and we appreciate any and all support from our neighbors and the local community.
  • Most fitness professionals and studio owners have very narrow margins to remain viable and profitable even in the good times. So, the Coronavirus era has taken a toll.
  • The good news is we are a determined team of business owners, and by working together we will figure this out. Organizations like Sweat Minnesota are doing so much good to support and invigorate the local fitness industry. I’m on the Board of the Pilates Method Alliance, we are continually offering guidance, support and insights to help those in our industry. In fact, just this week I hosted a Facebook live discussion related to nurturing and maintaining client relationships during a pandemic.
  • I believe there are silver linings to every trying situation. This Pandemic forced many of us to offer virtual options for our home bound clients sheltering in place. Going forward, this option will be a great value to clients who cannot make it to live classes due to work, family or other commitments. They can opt into these classes anytime, almost from anywhere. Virtual formats also provide us, as studio owners, with additional revenue streams and they add value to our studio programming. I was planning on adding this as an option at Defining You in Q4 for our fitness classes and Pilates Teacher Training Program. Now I can work on improving our product and it will be even better by the end of the year.

– How can the community support you?

  • We appreciate any and all support during this time, it means so much to me and our entire Defining You community.
  • Our welcoming studio is known for our supportive team of staff, clients and community members. We always emphasize that we meet clients where they’re at, at all levels. So, if there are readers who are looking to join a studio, we offer an introductory monthly membership for $69. This would include all our virtual group classes for one month. We also offer a 3- or 5- Virtual recorded class Sampler Pack for $19.99 and $29.99 respectively. With this option folks can choose the format series they’re interested in, join in the classes and also have access to those same classes in our Zoom library for up to one month.
  • Please visit our website at www.DefiningYouFitness.com or email our front desk team at definingyoufitnessdesk@gmail.com or call us at 651-769-5712.
  • If there are people who have tried Defining You and had a great experience, please tell your friends, neighbors and family! We also appreciate any positive reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.

– Any other comments?

I have said often, we will get through this. And, when we do, we will be better at what we do, better at helping people live their healthiest lives, better at appreciating the gifts we have.  We will be stronger, too.

 

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