Business: AIR Aerial Fitness
Address: 236 S. Washington Street, Naperville
Phone/Website: 630-344-9531; www.airfitnow.com
Owner: Amie Langus, 38, of Denver, formerly of Naperville
years in business? one
What does your company do? “We are a group gym. We only do air fitness. We have a few different formats of our classes, but for the most part we offer high-intensity interval training that is 50 minutes long. A total body workout,” Langus said.
It’s all in the air? “Yes. The contraption we use is called an aerial hammock. Basically, it’s a piece of fabric that we loop into a loop and attach to beams. It sits about waist-high. This allows the hammock to be used to… To increase the intensity of an exercise or to allow modification of the exercise.”
How did you discover AIR Aerial Fitness? “I started doing yoga. … I toured the southwestern suburbs and visited various yoga studios. One Sunday I was on this app called Mindbody. They offered an aerial yoga workshop. … I went to the workshop and immediately fell in love with it. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done and it felt really good.
“I connected to the teacher of this class. … Shortly thereafter I learned to teach Aerial Yoga. I ended up teaching that at another studio in downtown Naperville for about six years. … From then on I knew that I wanted to open my own studio at some point.
“I found this franchise, AIR Aerial Fitness. They’re across the country. Two in Chicago, one in Winnetka. Once I saw what it was all about, my vision and goals matched the offer. So I joined them.”
How has the pandemic affected your business: “We started planning to open the Naperville studio in 2019 and the pandemic hit (in 2020). Surprise surprise. … Meanwhile, Corporate announced that the Denver location is closing. I said, ‘Absolutely not. No way.’ So I completed the Denver studio acquisition in July 2020 and then moved out here. In the meantime we were still chugging around with the Naperville studio. It took longer than expected but we opened in May 2021.”
What’s Denver like? “I love it so much. I really do. … I was willing to take that risk to start a new life in Denver.”
What else do you do? “I’m a licensed real estate agent in Colorado and Illinois.”
What is it like to be a real estate agent and fitness expert? “I have been teaching yoga since the early 2010s. So, I had yoga and fitness and exercise in my back pocket. Yoga and sport keep me healthy enough to handle the volume of (real estate) transactions. That can be stressful sometimes.”
What do you like best about AIR Aerial Fitness? “The training is fun. … There’s this exciting element. You’re upside down sometimes. … That’s what draws people in, but at the end of the day it’s an effective workout. … I have so much more upper body strength. So much more nuclear power. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been grunting and sweating at the gym.”
What else do you like? “The community aspect. I see people coming through the doors, very shy, afraid of the hammock. A few months later, her clothes get smaller, her smile brightens. And they make real friends with other people who come to the studio and to the classes. This is very common in both of our studios.”
Is Naperville good for business? “I wasn’t too sure about downtown Naperville at first. Parking can be a nightmare. … But the foot traffic was fantastic. It is so accessible for the parking garage. That was a selling point for me. I love being part of the downtown Naperville business community that is very supportive of one another.”
What misconceptions can people have? “People think this is a silly fun thing to try. Yes, there is something new because it is so different. But what will surprise people is if they stick to this workout, if they come thrice a week or more, they’ll find it’s incredibly effective and really fun. You will get in top form without even realizing it.”
What challenges are you facing? “Spread the word. Then get people to overcome the initial fear of the first course. … Anyone can do that.”
What is your advice to someone starting a business? “Don’t forget the people around you in your community because these are people who will help you lift yourself up. You want.”
If you know of a company that you would like to see profiled in Down to Business, contact Steve Metsch at [email protected].
Steve Metsch is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.