Plans for a second location for Limber Tree Yoga is a milestone for the small business and the realization of the dream of its owner, Sharli Swinehart.
Having opened for business in May of 2012, Swinehart has nurtured her business and seen it grow at its current location in downtown Billings at 212 N. 29th Street. She is excited that the business has grown to need a second location and she is excited about that new location. The studio will be a part of Shiloh Commons, at 3911 Central Avenue – at the corner of Shiloh and Central – where developers are striving to create a “downtown” on the west end of Billing.
Swinehart believes it is a perfect fit for what she sees as the future of her business. “We got the last available space in the first phase of the project”, which is to be completed this fall, sometime in October. “We have a patio, and they are putting in a green space garden, which will be an ideal space where we can practice outside.”
Limber Tree Yoga offers yoga classes, as well as training for yoga teachers. It is the only certified teacher training program in the region, and the teacher training has proven to be the most popular aspect of her business, the aspect that has carried it through some tough times.
Shiloh Commons is being built in three phases, and consists of four units, three of which will feature retail space at ground level with 144 apartments on the upper floors and underground parking for tenants. The project is being marketed by Coldwell Banker Commercial CBS.
Swinehart came to Billings from in 2006. She took her first yoga class at the YMCA, which was a great benefit to her and helped improve her health. She discovered that she loved the discipline.
This budding entrepreneur who always wanted to own her own business, also “found that there was a “hole in the market in Billings.“
“I took my passion and decided to open a studio downtown,” said Swinehart. Like most small businesses, starting on a shoestring and growing incrementally, the first years were a struggle. “It didn’t feel successful for a long time,” said Swinehart.
While being located downtown has its benefits, there are also drawbacks. “Owning a business downtown has presented a lot of challenge,” said Swinehart, “We deal with transients and parking issues, and the prices are higher per square foot, while being in old buildings that have to be remodeled.”
“I had to look at closing the doors several times, but I have kept my brand going. The teacher training helped to turn the business around financially and enabled me to have good quality staff and teachers.”
Swinehart has learned that “the definition of success is very much a matter of perspective.” While the numbers might not impress some people, she has been able to generate a livelihood and grow the business, while doing something she loves and is passionate about. That is enough success for Swinehart, who greatly credits her husband, Tim, for standing by her and for giving “wise words from an outside perspective. Tim has been a huge part of it. He is not the face of I t, but he is definitely the support.”
Swinehart’s success has been achieved while also balancing the demands of motherhood with those of running a business. Swinehart has three children, Haven, 11; Greyson, 9; and Owen, 1.5 years.
Limber Tree Yoga employs 5-8 people, a number that will double with the opening of the second location. Swinehart plans to offer both kinds of classes at both locations, serving a different demographic. “We provide yoga classes that maintain the authenticity of the practice itself,” said Swinehart. Limber Tree Yoga classes teach students about yoga as “a very old ancient practice of meditation and how we can find happiness and joy in our lives through the practice of yoga.”
“Its about finding a holistic approach that goes much deeper than the physical,” said Swinehart. The approach makes Limber Tree Yoga stand out among its competitors, and it is being very well received, since the teacher training part of the business is the fastest growing. And, adds Swinehart, many of those learning to be yoga teachers are not necessarily doing so because they intend on becoming yoga teachers. ”
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