New Bedford, MAINDUSTRY: PERSONAL SERVICES
BUSINESS: BOUTIQUE FITNESS
YEAR FOUNDED: 2011
PROGRAM: 2014 INTERISE SOUTH COAST
“Know who your customers are: Everyone wants to please everyone but that’s impossible. You have to figure out who your clientele is and really cater to that specific group.”BUSINESS OVERVIEW
Lara Harrington and her close friend Angela Corrieri-Johnson founded Boutique Fitness in 2011 to do what they loved. Their business provides small group fitness classes, one-on-one fitness training, and nutrition coaching. Boutique Fitness recently expanded to a second location in Mattapoisett, MA, and later opened a third location in Westport, MA. The business doubled its revenue in the first year, and has doubled revenues in each subsequent year. Boutique Fitness currently has 15 employees (14 trainers including Lara and Angela and 1 additional employee), all hired from the local community.
When Lara left her job with a fitness franchise after six years, she had to overcome initial doubt that she could go at it alone. “Everyone that I had talked to, especially from the corporate world where I was working, thought I was out of my mind,” Lara recalls. The common refrain was that “the demographics were just not there in New Bedford.” Having lived in New Bedford for years and raising a child there, however, Lara was confident in her decision. “I know the people in New Bedford and I know that this would be a service they would cherish,” Lara puts it simply.
When Lara and her partner Angela started, they set a goal to get 70 clients in 6 months. They reached that number in three months: “Everybody around me knew what I did. There was so much support from the people around us.” Buoyed by their initial success, Lara and Angela opened two other locations, supported by 14 new hires in just six years.
Lara gives back to her community however she can, whether it be working with the New Bedford Chamber of Commerce or partnering with local nonprofits. She has encouraged many of her friends from the small business community to participate in the South Coast Interise program, which provides small business owners with the knowledge, know-how, and network of relationships they need to scale their existing small business.
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