by Anne Marie O’Connor
The Mini Mogul: Zayna Gold
Training: Stott Pilates, Power Pilates, Balanced Body University
Studio: Boston Body, with five locations throughout the Greater Boston Area
Year opened: 1989
How she got started: When I moved to Boston from Arizona, I fell in love with the intimacy of Newbury Street. There were boutique stores and friendly small businesses up and down the street. It was very difficult to find space there, so for three years, I taught in the neighborhood until a space became open. By then, I had built up such a strong following that the day I opened, I already had 200 clients!
The biggest challenge: Finding the money was the hardest [thing]. I took out a small line of credit and enlisted all of my friends to scrape off linoleum, paint and do anything else we could do to take away from build-out costs.
Finding a partner: My husband Clark Elefteriadis joined the business in 1999. I needed a partner to help with the management, especially because I had two small children. He is a very talented designer who has been the general contractor and designed all of our studios. Since then, we have built the business together. Clark’s brother Ace joined us in 2000 and has been a vital part of the business. So it is truly a family business.
How she ended up with multiple locations: I never intended to have more than one location, but one day in 2000 when I was getting my hair cut in Newton, a suburb of Boston, my stylist Jonathan DeMar told me about a space available on his block. I casually mentioned this to Clark. He went and looked at the space and thought it was a great business opportunity. All I could think was, Oh no, I wasn’t really serious about this! Reluctantly, I went along, and as they say, the rest is history.
Then in 2008, Clark found a space in Belmont that was walking distance from our home. Again I was hesitant, but he sold me on the location, and a few months later, Boston Body Belmont was born, which now houses our Balanced Body Training Center. Then in 2009, we opened a fourth studio in Concord. [They’ve since opened up a fifth location.]
Advantages of five studios: We only need one website and one advertising budget, plus it’s convenient for our members who might work in one area and live in another. And finally, the learning curve from one studio is much lower with each additional studio.
Challenges of having multiple locations: The challenges—staffing, operations and finances—are the same but multiplied by each location: Crises sometimes happen at several of your locations at the same time.
Why it’s worth it: I get to share my love of Pilates with all different types of people.