Jean Hoiland has set a lofty goal of raising $40,000 online through a GoFundMe.com project so that she can, in part, bring Zumba classes back to Enumclaw after the unexpected this summer.
Hoiland, the owner of , didn't necessarily have Zumba in her grand business vision of establishing a holistic healing center in the middle of downtown Enumclaw, but as she described in her GoFundMe.com project page, "yoga has taught me to be flexible and open to the possibilities."
Her hope is that the funds raised will help her move that vision along to include a group fitness classroom on the first floor of the two-story building that currently houses her business. An empty storefront currently faces Cole Street, and she'd like to do her part in revitalizing downtown Enumclaw, she said.
Yoga classes could also take place downstairs so that passers by get a better idea of what the practice actually looks like, and the space would be amenable to other group fitness classes as well. Hoiland emphasized that yoga is just one component of good health -- cardiovascular exercise is also important, and that's where a class like Zumba does fit in at her healing arts center, she said.
Big Vision for a Small-town Business
Hoiland from its prior location at J.J Smith Elementary to its current location on Cole Street in early 2011 and resumed yoga classes quickly in the upstairs portion of the building. The second level provided some benefits including ample lighting, and sitting on top of any potential noisy construction that would occur downstairs so that classes upstairs would not be disturbed.
Almost two years later, Hoiland has grown her healing arts center to include reflexologists Dawn Tingvall and Jennifer Usher as well as massage therapists Leandra Hoyne and Cory Meeks. But there's much more she wants to do with the center, including bringing in a nutritionist to give healthy cooking classes, a health enthusiast who may want to run a juice bar, perhaps a naturopath or two as well as add a retail sales area and extend the second floor deck to become something like an alternative to Starbucks.
Hoiland envisions the healing center to be more than a place to do yoga or get a massage. "I want to build a vibrant, healing space where people have fun and get together with friends - and it's healthy," she said. "There's so much energy when you bring together a group of people - the energy is built by bringing the people together. There's a socializing. A community is created - friendships are built."
In the six years that her yoga studio has been in business, Hoiland has been able to leverage her skills and talents to work a number of trades with others in the community in order to get to where she is today. Mark Sims of Country Hardwood Floors in Buckley, Kurt Mattioda of (which still shares the building with Hoiland), and Joanne Treat of Treat's Heating and Cooling have all donated time, expertise or resources to help Hoiland renovate the Cole Street building so she could open for business in 2011 in exchange for yoga classes.
Now, however, her complete vision for the building, along with the renovations that are needed to accomplish this, require good old-fashioned capital. She's taken a page from the Hallet Family Farm Freedom Ranger Poultry Project that successfully helped Hallet Family Farms raise enough money to start a pastured broiler operation in south King County, and moved online with her business pitch.
"When people look at a business owner, they think you have deep pockets and they think you should have enough money to do this and that without thinking what their responsibility is to keep business open," Hoiland said. "When you’ve been in business in a town like Enumclaw and the economy we’ve been in, small business owners have empty inside pockets."
Going online, then, gives the community a sense of ownership and a way to get involved, and for Hoiland, it provides a direct way of gauging exactly how well her vision will be supported.
An Invaluable Resource
It has not been an easy road for Hoiland who opened her business just as the economy turned south. Her mother, Carol, can attest to the financial hardships her daughter has faced, but she continues to believe in her vision and has benefitted from working with like-minded individuals who believe in her as well. "If people would only take advantage of it," she said.
Fellow yoga teacher and massage therapist Meeks said, "Jean is an invaluable resource for this community, and I think she's going to continue to grow and shine and blossom in this community and really help bring health to Enumclaw and the whole Plateau. Jean is a motivated individual. She's a good leader, and she's highly educated - she's very gifted as well. That's why all of us are here because of her leadership and what's she's put in. We all want to be a part of what's happening here at the wellness center."
Hoiland is quick to return the praise. "[Yoga] teachers I have - they believe in what they do so much they volunteer their time to teach because they learn, and they recognize it’s a valuable business to the community," she said. "They believe in me so they’re willing to donate their time so I don't have to cancel classes."
Her students also appreciate what she's trying to do. "What's she's brought to Enumclaw is really special, and I think if word can get out more of what she is doing for the health of the community, she's really an asset to this community," said Alicia Alexander. "There's nobody else out there with her style, and she's such a giving and caring person - I support her in any way that I can."
Things like yoga and fitness and taking care of yourself are preventative things that hopefully limit your hospital visits for injuries or chronic diseases, and they should be viewed as traditional medicine, said Hoiland, but "we now call them 'alternative' and 'complementary.' It makes no sense."
Hoiland wants to help make sense of things again for the community in which she grew up. "I'm going to make it happen," she said. "If people want to join me and put time or money in and do it as a team, collaborate and share and have that idea that we’re doing this for the community, I’m willing to work with anybody that’s of that same mindset. The bottom line is it has to make money, but it’s not about the money; it's about providing a service people need."
Visit Hoiland's Go Fund Me project site at http://gofundme.com/keep-fitness-in-Enumclaw for more information.