A champion for our Health and Wellness...
Living a healthy lifestyle can’t be achieved by getting on a bike once a week and having a set of hand weights collect dust in your basement that you swear you’ll use some day. It takes a desire to live a health conscious life. Today’s nominee has shaped her entire business model around this concept of striving toward healthy living in every part of a person's daily life. Though she's been teaching and training for over 15 years, 2019 was a year of big changes and expansions of the wellness center vision.
Reagan began training early in life here in Owatonna. After relocating to Milwaukee, Wisconsin she officially founded her first fitness business teaching yoga and weight-training - in any space she could find. She moved back to Owatonna after about 6 years in Wisconsin. She took a short break from training when she moved back home, but pretty soon the itch hit, and she went right back to training. When she had the opportunity to rent a fitness space of her own she took it. Within a year, she'd outgrown the space and needed something bigger.
In early 2018, she acquired that space. Now she's successfully expanded her fitness classes to include cycling, yoga, strength training, and personal training. In the old location she struggled to run all of these programs in only two rooms. Now each offering has its own room and most mornings and afternoons they're all filled to the brim with loyal customers, turned friends, laughing and working their tails off.
Reagan West’s Owatonna Fitness works to address people's total wellness. Her addition of the Fresh Cafe (launched in March 2019) serves fresh & organic salads, wraps, coffees, teas, smoothies, and shakes, with more to come in the future. Next door is one of her business partners, Learning RX, an endeavor started by another local entrepreneur, Darci Stanford, working to provide those with learning difficulties strategies to help them through their studies. Further down the hall, Carrin Kath provides cryotherapy and her special brand of asiatsu (back-walking massages).
Reagan also shares the space with Cindy’s Organic Dry-Cleaning and Tailoring and Hidden Rose Fashion who insures anyone who comes to the center can also look as good as they feel. The shop front has many other local crafters and artisans selling their goods. She takes pride in knowing that her entrepreneurial successes are helping others build their own business.
A few of those people are close friends and vital parts of her business, Lori Murry and Christine Behne. All started as friends and fellow wellness enthusiasts. When the Fresh Cafe launched in early 2019, Christine and Lori agreed to become the Cafe’s managers. These two have relished this opportunity to be challenged and grow as leaders.
Over time, Tanya Anderson has become one of the lead trainers at Owatonna fitness, teaching a wide variety of classes as well as being one of the gym’s personal trainers. It’s through her friendship with Reagan that she discovered her love of training others, and it happened almost entirely by accident. One afternoon, Tanya was attending one of the fledgling business's classes when Reagan needed to run out the door for a meeting. In the early stages of Tanya's cycling training, she agreed to hop onto the trainer bike mid-class and slip into the trainer's shoes, literally. There was no time for fear or to question what she’d just agreed to, she just had to go! She’s been going ever since.
Most would agree that Reagan's greatest achievement in 2019 at Owatonna Fitness has been her Parkinson’s class. Inspired by her friend and mentor, Bill Owens, who’d been diagnosed with the disease only a year ago, the two worked together to create a boxing class for those diagnosed with this progressive disease without a cure. Though classes like this existed outside of Owatonna, they were hours away and traveling that distance weekly would be difficult for anyone, especially those diagnosed with Parkinson's. Reagan has guided trainer Nicole Hartman to champion this inspiring endeavor.
Owatonna Peoples Press's Annie Granland wrote an article on the class on March 12th, 2019
This class runs twice a week and uses boxing to encourage balance and coordination of the muscles, things that become increasingly difficult as the disease causes the degeneration of muscle and neurotransmitters in the brain. Studies have shown these types of classes have promising effects. All of the numbers and statistics fail to capture the hope shining through the eyes of someone who previously had none.
Health fads come and go. What people consider to be healthy can and does change almost daily. It’s the struggle of those who work in the fitness industry to continually adapt to these changes. But the profound effect two weekly boxing classes can have on a person's health and well being is what defines Reagan West and Owatonna Fitness as one of 2019’s Entrepreneurs of the Year.
- Authored By Jessica Beckman