Not only has the pandemic been a health concern in WNY, it has negatively impacted numerous businesses from restaurants to fitness centers. One fitness studio that almost completely collapsed under the weight of the pandemic was Evolation Yoga Buffalo. During the closing time, the owner of the studio began to realize the seriousness of the situation and felt that there might not be any light at the end of the tunnel. After informing his staff of the plight, seven of the employees – the heart of the employee/teacher base – came together, “to get the studio out of debt, volunteer their time and money for the rebuilding with the creation of a new collective that took over all leadership from Evolation Yoga Buffalo.”
It was instructor Juliet Root who contacted me to tell me about this incredible story of spirit, vitality and fortitude.
“A tremendous amount of work has gone into this transition, especially as we made our way to becoming new business owners amid the pandemic challenges,” said Juliet, who was one of those who volunteered time and money for nine months for the new entity that is wholly owned by women. “I am constantly impressed by the tenacity and commitment each of us has shown. Together we are stronger. We invite the community to join us as we continue to uplift each other through the healing of yoga.
The desire of the seven new owners was not only to provide themselves with a stable working environment, but also to save a small studio that they felt was invaluable to the community. They were firm in their belief that the new collective would survive indefinitely once the transition was complete.
Ultimately, the transition to the new entity started in March 2021 and was completed in December of the same year.
“As owners, we understand the importance of yoga for physical and mental health and are excited to continue to grow and share within our community,” said Julie.
“I had the privilege of being one of the first students to open the studio over 20 years ago with the original owners,” says co-owner Sue Landel. “It has been the best experience of my life physically, mentally and spiritually. I am excited to be part of the team that is taking Evolation Yoga Buffalo into a new future.”
To make the process as seamless as possible, the group of women noted that it would not have been manageable without unwavering support from the original owner, who was eager to help orchestrate the new ownership evolution. In the end, everyone was happy with the agreements, which was important for both parties. It also meant a lot to the yoga students, who could continue their own journey.
“It has been an honor and privilege to be part of the Evolation family,” said co-owner Karen Dennis. “Even as a student before teaching, I felt the warmth of the studio as if it were a second home. I have always wanted a yoga studio to facilitate a safe space for growth within our community. I am grateful to be able to do that, with a great team and in the same space that offered me the same.”
“I’m honored to be surrounded by such creative and hard-working women,” co-owner Jordan Onisk agreed. “Evolation Yoga Buffalo has changed my life in the best possible way. I am grateful to be in a position to spread positive change in our growing community. We already have so many great things in the works! I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”
Evolution of Yoga Buffalo | 476 Rhode Island Street | Buffalo NY | (716) 882-4151| Facebook| Instagram
Main Image (L-R): Beverly Rose Holtz, Jordan Onisk, Karen Dennis, Stacy Tuberdyke, Sue Landel, Juliet Root, Jes Ghosen.