A lot of business owners would love to have the problem Flair Fitness Studio has had—too many customers for its current location at 551 Post Rd.
The exercise studio's classes became so popular that Flair's landlord worried about parking for his other tenants. Darien officials limited class sizes to 20 customers during the day and 40 at night. Flair started holding classes for kids at the gymnasium in Town Hall (a former school building), at schools and at The Depot youth center.
Now Flair is about to open at a new and much larger space by Jan. 14 in Goodwives Shopping Center. In the new quarters, Flair will sublet to , and offer two large studios—the smaller of which can handle all the customers in the biggest class at the current Post Road location.
Flair has come a long way since it was started in 2010 with classes offered at the Darien Community Association. Within months, in September 2010, the business had moved into its present space on the Post Road.
"From the time we moved into our current place, we almost outgrew it," said Flair co-owner Amy Shelton in an interview a few weeks ago as a construction crew from R.D. Scinto was still constructing rooms in the new storefront. "We hadn't anticipated it. Our landlord hadn't anticipated it. So it's been exciting."
So exciting that the Darien Planning & Zoning Commission set a limit of no more than 20 participants in daytime classes at the studio and 40 at night at the Post Road studio. Shelton started looking for other places in town where the studio could have enough parking to meet the demand for its classes.
"I didn't realize that parking was such an issue in this town," said Shelton, who indicated she had been frustrated with the constraints placed on her growing business. If there had been more parking, she said, Flair could have had 50 customers at once in classes.
Now she can have 50 in just the larger, 1,275-square-foot exercise studio toward the back.
Zumba, a kind of exercising that involves dancing and an aerobic workout to Latin-influenced music, has boomed in popularity in recent years, and Flair Fitness along with it. Flair also offers other kinds of exercise classes, as well, including yoga and dance classes from the New England Academy of Dance.
In December, Shelton said she was hoping the Goodwives location at 25 Old King's Hwy. N. (see attached map) would be open by Jan. 14. It's situated between Global Pet Foods and the Darien Wine Port in the shopping center, in a spot once occupied by the Rugged Bear children's clothing store.
According to Christina Cush, a publicist for Flair, the studio will soon target women "at every phase of their lives, from toddlers to grandmas," with classes appropriate for each.
That could mean that as Mom is doing Zumba, her little girl could have a dance or other exercise class at Flair, eliminating the need to arrange for a baby sitter. Or maybe Grandma will be in a yoga class for seniors in one room as the toddler is in a class in another room.