When Katelynn Prokop moved to Lanigan almost six years ago, she couldn’t find many activities for people her age. Even with her full-time teaching job, Prokop found she was spending much of her time stagnant; watching television and being bored. This is why she wanted to bring spin classes to her new town with the opening of Dog House Spin Studio on March 18, 2019.
“I was always driving to the city to go to spin classes and stuff like that. And I was always trying to convince other people [they] should open a spin studio. Then finally I realized that with the time that I have that's extra, other than teaching, I probably could be opening a studio.”
Besides creating a space where she can enjoy spin classes, Prokop gave others their own space to exercise and have fun.
“It's not just a workout, but it's fun, and you get everyone together. And before COVID we were able to stay and visit afterwards and have coffee.”
Prokop was a bit worried about bringing something new to Lanigan since she wasn’t sure how people were going to react. New workout routines can be intimidating but Prokop is helping people discover a new love of spin. Almost anyone can do it, she says.
“My biggest goal was just making people realize that it's a place to come to get stronger, you don't necessarily have to be a fit athlete when you first come here.”
In the two years since Prokop opened, she has also started bringing new classes to her studio with yoga soon to be offered and mace swinging classes brought into the studio for a weekend session. Variation is good, she says, and she is looking to branch out even more.
Prokop welcomes feedback and suggestions from customers and instructors and says listening has been the biggest lesson she has learned from being a first-time business owner.
“You really have to listen to your staff, listen to the people that are coming in, and change things a little bit according to what they want and what they need. With class times, the music that we play, the way that the bikes are arranged, it's funny when you have to really start listening to what other people want and need and their expectations.”
With some amazing people on board to teaching classes, watch the desk, help with renovations, and clean, Prokop says success for the studio has been a community effort.
“There's no way that I could have done it all by myself...Maybe they just saw how crazy I was about it and they thought they better help.”
With their second anniversary party cancelled due to COVID-19, it has been a difficult year, says Prokop, but the studio persevered by going online and doing classes on Facebook Live. Considering the comradery between Prokop and her clients, it wasn’t much fun being in the studio by herself.
“All of that energy people bring and that your staff comes together and brings, not having that it was so hard to keep going.”
Once COVID-19 is gone, Prokop says she is expecting some challenges getting people back into the studio.
“We're still going to have quite a few people that would prefer spending their time at home doing workouts. Maybe after a whole year of doing that, they would get used to doing workout videos at home.”
Even with the challenge of getting people through the door, Sagehill Community Futures was always there for support, she says.
It is easy for traditional business supports to be there when times are easy and revenue is pouring in, says Prokop, but only when times are hard do business owners know who wants them to succeed. Even during a pandemic, Sagehill was willing to put businesses, including Dog House Spin Studio, first.