Amy, Debbie and Rhodie – JoyRide

Lamenting the lack of a boutique cycling studio led three women in to a big venture. Amy Hochhauser, a self-decribed “recovering” attorney had moved to Westport, CT when her second son was three. Having lunch one day with a friend, Debbie Katz, she said, “I wish we had a great Spinning studio here. Someone should open a high end boutique spinning place here…..WE should open a spinning place here!!!!” Both women had turned to Spinning to relieve stress and maintain fitness physically and mentally and loved it. Debbie had been in advertising but wanted a career that was more in line with her fitness lifestyle.

Not one to sit still when she has an idea, Amy started to ruminate on how this might happen. Late one night, when she couldn’t sleep for thinking about it, she began to google everything she could on Spinning classes. “I found a guy in Boston who consults with people who want to start Spinning studios. This was the perfect person to talk with.” They reached out to him right away and starting thinking of a name for their future studio. She and Debbie wanted it to be a happy welcoming place for clients. So combining a feeling of joy (and Amy’s Grandmother’s name), with an action, ride, they landed on JoyRide.

Amy and Debbie’s venture was still in its infancy and they weren’t sure if they could pull it off, but the two moms kept moving forward. They felt they had a great name and since Amy was a lawyer, she filed for a trademark and formed an LLC. “We then hired the consultant to help us with the basics, which included space requirements, a budget, and management details.” Amy and Debbie found this extremely helpful but they realized they were thinking of something larger. “The consultant was great. We took the structure he gave us and expanded on it.”

Things were becoming more real and they continued their research and planning. Not an inexpensive venture, they knew they needed capital. Drafting a short business plan, they met with everyone they knew. “Borrowing was not an option so we had to find investors. Lots of people said we couldn’t do it, but we had the commitments we needed for our first studio in one week.” About this time, the consultant called to say a Spinning instructor from Westport had called him about opening a studio. “He thought it would be a good fit for us. An instructor was the missing piece. Debbie and I worked out, but we weren’t instructors.” When Amy heard it was Rhodie Lorenze, one of the most successful Spinning instructors in the area, she knew it was meant to be. They met for coffee, shared thier ideas and this is when they knew it was going to happen. The three women became partners with all of the legal documents required, including exit strategies. “You don’t want to have this big a venture and not know what would happen if things change for one of the partners.”

Eight months after the idea, JoyRide offered it’s first spinning class. “We were surprised and pleased by the support from friends who came – it was awesome.” The women relied on social media to get the word out. Spinners followed their instructors which brought in clients. The lease they were able to secure gave them more room than they needed so they have an extra room for other classes. “The spinning instructors also teach Pilates, JoySculpt and JoyCircuit. Never did I think I’d be running an exercise studio but once I get my mind set on an idea, I wont’ stop. I knew if we didn’t do it, someone else would and the timing was perfect,” says Amy.

JoyRide has become so successful, they just opened their second studio in Darien. Why is JoyRide so popular? For all ages, Spinning torches calories and is an endorphin-surged way to develop muscle tone and reduce body fat. Amy says, “I think we’ve been successful because JoyRide focuses on the mind/body connection encouraging riders to stay positive and tap into their mental strength.” Rhodie says her clients thrive on her playlist, “I love to offer a challenging ride and engage with my riders.” The best part for the three women, “We love the community among us as owners, our instructors and our clients. This is our extended family.”

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Studio addresses: 1200 Post Road East, Westport, CT, 25 Old King’s Hwy. North, Darien, CT

VentureMom Tip When you have partners and investors, make sure your agreements include exit strategies for all eventualities.

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