A Letter From Sarah
As I write this in my office on Grote St, it’s early in the morning, earlier than I would normally be here and a few hours before we open the doors for the day. I think of all the early mornings I’ve had at this desk the past 19 years, and the even more late nights. For years, the late nights were my favourite. I could get more work done in a couple of hours after midnight than I could during the hustle and bustle of a busy business day with phones ringing and eager yoga students coming and going to classes.
I’ve always felt like I was one of the lucky ones. I was lucky that I got to stay in St. Catharines-Niagara to make a living and career in my hometown while so many others I grew up with had to leave for bigger cities. And, I was even luckier that I got to do it on my own terms. It was late 1998, I was barely 22 years old, and being in business felt like a “man’s world.” I wouldn’t stand any of that. I knew that I could run a business that made a difference in people’s lives and that I could make the flyers pink if I wanted to. Maybe that’s the beauty of being young, invincible and naïve. I had a fire in my belly and my mission was to bring yoga to Niagara. And that I did. For years, I taught many classes a day, all the while doing bookkeeping, marketing and returning clients calls. As the business grew, my staff increased as did the yoga teacher talent, and I was able to take my burned-out self off of the teaching schedule. Many of you saw me burn out, that’s how it goes – you can’t set the world on fire forever.
In the past several years, my role at Yoga by Sarah has stabilized into manager/director/creative head/bookkeeper – something like that anyway! The daily operations are run by my talented staff and instructors. This was another lucky break: I’m pretty sure my team is the best on the planet. It’s allowed me to keep manageable work hours and enjoy more life outside the doors of YBS.
Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this today. A couple of years ago, on a summer holiday in Prince Edward Island, I met a wonderful man named Colin. We are engaged to be married next summer, and all I can say is that I am so glad I waited for him. Life is funny like that – I met Colin at exactly the time I came to peace with being single. Here’s the thing: he lives and has a business in Collingwood. I’ll be moving to Collingwood to be with him. Love makes us do crazy things like that, eh? If you knew me when I was in my twenties, you’ll remember a girl who swore she was never leaving Niagara. Oh, Life. The tricks you play on us!
Let me cut to the chase and say it: I’ve sold Yoga by Sarah. That’s a strange thing to say. Yoga by Sarah has been the focus of my life the past two decades and the only thing I’ve known as an adult. In my most truthful moments, I might confess that I’ve been thinking about selling for quite some time – long before I met Colin. Everything has its time.
As of September 30, Yoga by Sarah is now owned by April and Bill Janzen. They are a Niagara supercouple. April has been a long-time client at YBS and is a social worker by trade. Their three children are now all in school and the timing is perfect for her to take on a business she is passionate about. April has an infectious enthusiasm and a lot of energy! During the last three months of late night phone calls, negotiations, and secret meetings with her, I’ve seen and admired the many sides and layers to her. She is smart, creative, compassionate and fierce, all qualities that will make her a good leader and owner of Yoga by Sarah.
Bill owns a business in St. Catharines called Future Access, which he started 22 years ago as a teenager. Future Access is a website development and digital marketing company. What makes this transition even more special is that Future Access will be doing a lot of the backend stuff for YBS– they’ll be doing all the marketing, bookkeeping, and other admin work. This will allow April to stay focused on Yoga by Sarah as the leader, creative director, and vision-setter. Bill is a great businessman and super likeable. Bill and I really relate to each other as business owners. He is a true partner to April on so many levels, being 110% on board with April’s dream of owning a yoga studio. To top it off, he is great with numbers and spreadsheets. What’s not to love about him?
You’ll be seeing April and I around the studio a lot. We want to ensure a smooth transition and to let you know that it’s business as usual! As part of the ownership transition, I will still be working at Yoga by Sarah until the end of December. In fact, you’ll probably see more of me now that I won’t be locked in my office all the time. I’ll even be teaching a weekly yoga class on the Drop-In Schedule. I really look forward to connecting and reconnecting with many of you.
For those of you registered in this year’s Yoga Teacher Training Program, nothing will change with the program. I will be running the program with my usual team of amazing instructors right up until program completion in the month of April. However, this will be the last Teacher Training Program that I personally run before I retire from Yogaland - hint, hint! We have just a couple spaces left in the program starting on October 21. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to do teacher training, I hope you can join us. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my cell 905 401-9929. I still love running the YTT program, and I can’t wait to get started! (If this is not your year, not to worry. YBS will still be running the YTT program in future years, just not with me at the helm! That said, April and I have spoken about me assisting and consulting in portions of future YTT programs).
Now, here’s Part 2 of this message: Are you ready? The owner of the building on Grote St. recently sold the building, and Yoga by Sarah will be moving to a beautiful, big, new space in the Grantham Plaza at the corner of Scott St and Vine St. It’s just a couple of minutes up the road from our current location. Let me be clear – April and Bill are the real deal entrepreneurs. Not only are they purchasing Yoga by Sarah from me, they are also building a whole new space to move the business to. The new location will still have the three studio spaces that we’re accustomed to. In fact, each studio will be bigger than what we currently have at Grote St. There will still be hot yoga, child minding, retail and a couple of other goodies that they’ll tell you about in the near future. They have some cool drawings of the new studio they’ve done up professionally that they’ll be sharing with you soon. Yoga by Sarah is scheduled to open up in the new space at the beginning of January. In the meantime, we stay on Grote St and run our usually scheduled classes with our usually scheduled instructors!
April, Bill and I felt like we wanted to have an offer to incentivize you to renew your membership or come back to classes. We’re offering a Super Special Sale – it’s a cheesy name I know, but it’s a super special time, so it felt appropriate! We’re offering a 10 Class Pass special. It’s 10 classes for $72.50 – that’s 50% off! It’s only available for the next two weeks to purchase, and the 10 classes must be used up by December 31. Click here to find out more and to buy online! I hope you’re able to hang out with us for our last few months on Grote St and my last few months at Yoga by Sarah.
Sigh. I know this is a lot to digest at once. I get it! I really do feel like this is exciting for the YBS community. Yoga by Sarah gets to move forward and grow. I get to start a new chapter of my life. I hope that you’ll keep joining us on this crazy ride. So, I’ll see you in the studio soon, and I’ll introduce you to April, who I think you’re going to love!
A note from April:
Working with Sarah these past few months has been a real blessing and honour. I’m humbled and privileged that she has chosen Bill and I to carry on the leadership of YBS. I look forward to building on the strong foundation of community and authenticity that Sarah began 19 years ago. And most of all, I am excited to meet you all!!