Bill Moran reflects on five years of changes while running a hot yoga studio in Mobile, Alabama.
Rewind the clock to April 2010. The U.S. was just coming out of a serious financial crisis, investment in new business was not advisable, and the discouraging news of the Air Force tanker contract being pulled away from Mobile was on everyone’s mind.
However, in those days of uncertainty Lucille Allen from Sacramento, California and Bill Moran from Houston, Texas purchased a residence and moved to Mobile, Alabama, and in June 2010, a blip in the business section of the Mobile Press-Register reported that a commercial lease had been signed on the old Naman’s grocery store at Old Shell and Florida, and furthermore it was going to be a “hot” yoga studio.
Mobile, and for that matter the entire state of Alabama, had never heard of such a thing.
It was recommended to us to use preferred vendors that were not local to Mobile, but our homework and commitment to using local vendors and products took us in the direction to keep our money “at home.”
After a few conversations of “you want to build WHAT?”, we engaged a local architect and construction contractor, obtained all the necessary permits and licenses, and so our investment in Mobile began.
In October of 2010, we opened as Bikram Hot Yoga Mobile at 2540 Old Shell Road. It was a humble beginning, limited class schedule, only Lucille and one other teacher and only a 90-minute class.
Business is an evolving landscape; products improve and change. I am old enough to remember rotary phones; and though now I have a smartphone, its roots are in that old rotary phone. My new phone is miles from that old device, and indeed the whole communication industry is something completely different. Owning a yoga studio is not much different. You have to change and evolve.
In January 2014, we changed our name to Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile and began offering a 60-minute class. Then in January of 2015, we developed and began offering the Sterling Iron Hour.
Simultaneously in June 2014, Sterling Hot Yoga Teacher Training was founded, and we have graduated six of our teachers. As a side note, Sterling Teacher Training has trained nearly 100 teachers in the past two years from all over the world.
The feedback from studio owners as to the quality of the graduates and their podium readiness has earned Sterling TT the preferred teacher training program for many studios, and that number continues to grow. All Sterling teachers are Yoga Alliance certified and are required to obtain continuing education hours.
At Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile, we are proud of the fact that we are a homegrown studio; a fun fact is that Lucille and I are really the only transplants on staff.
What does it mean to be a homegrown studio? It means we are a committed part of the community. That commitment includes community outreach, supporting causes, assisting those in need with discounted or free yoga and, yes, even dog rescue and adoption.
It means that Mobilians, your friends and neighbors, are on the podium as first-rate qualified teachers. It means that we scour the industry for trends, new class offerings, take feedback from our clients to make SHYM a studio for Mobile.
It means that our revenue is spent in Mobile for teacher salaries, rent, utilities and even our personal living expenses, and we contribute to the tax revenues for the city and county of Mobile, as well as the great state of Alabama.
This is what Sterling is all about, and all we can say is thank you for supporting five great years of providing a top quality yoga program to the city of Mobile. With Airbus coming in, downtown revitalization and a renewed sense of community pride, we believe our best years are ahead.
Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile is truly a “homegrown” business.