Sundee Best, a local retail business, is taking over the previous location of Clothes Rack on Main Street in Blacksburg, Va. The boutique is set to open its doors April 8.
The business began as an online store in April 2015. By the end of that following summer, Sundee Best launched their fashion truck.
According to Stacey Jischke-Steffe, co-founder and president of American Mobile Retail Association, the industry is growing significantly with nearly 1,000 fashion trucks nation wide.
“A lot of it’s been blood, sweat and tears,” says owner, Ashleigh Garnes. “We refurbished the truck ourselves. It took us all summer but it was paid with love and hugs and free dinner.”
Sundee Best’s fashion truck has traveled to numerous festivals and fairs within a two-hour radius. It’s made additional appearances on Virginia Tech’s Drillfield and Radford University’s campus.
Despite the opening of the boutique, the fashion truck will still be an integral part of the business.
Garnes says it was her goal to open a store within 3-5 years of her online launch, but she wasn’t looking for a spot at all when she heard about the Main Street location.
“It’s meant to be because of the way that it fell into place and all of the things that have happened to lead up to this point,” says Garnes.
The property’s “for rent” sign went up at the end of January. Garnes toured the site and thought it was the perfect size – not too big, not too small. Everything was finalized by February 1 and she was given the keys on the second week of March.
Garnes is enthusiastic about the future of her business. She says that she wants Sundee Best to be known not only for great clothes, but for great customer service.
An in-store celebration is planned for April 29 with new arrivals and surprises.
It’s 4 p.m. on a Tuesday. Clients come in, one by one, with yoga mats, towels, and water bottles in hand, ready to enter the sauna that has consumed the studio at InBalance Yoga.
“My favorite is the hot yoga vinyasa classes,” says Keala Mason, manager and instructor at the studio.
Mason first became an instructor during her undergraduate years at James Madison University. She was later appointed as Coordinator of Sport Clubs and Youth Programs at the university’s recreation center. As the coordinator, Mason noticed a steady increase in the availability and popularity of yoga classes.
“I think one reason is because we’ve got celebrity endorsements and it’s become something that’s trendy to try, but then people stay with it because they see that it’s not just a trend,” Mason speculates. “It’s been around thousands of years so there’s gotta be something to it.”
According to David Gordon White’s “Yoga, Brief History of an Idea”, the earliest account of yoga is found in the Hindu Kathaka Upanisad, a scripture dating from about the third century B.C.
Yoga Alliance reports that the number of American practitioners has grown 50 percent in the past four years. Why are Americans now turning to this age-old practice as a form of exercise?
Nicole Boyle, owner of InBalance, has been practicing yoga for 11 years.
“I’m 38 now and it feels like I’m aging in reverse. I can do things now that I couldn’t do in my 20s,” Boyle says assuredly.
She believes that yoga has given her the confidence, and strength, to do triathlons, marathons, go on extended hiking and camping trips, and even try Crossfit.
“I think people are attracted to it because of some of the physical benefits, but then they see how well they feel mentally, emotionally, spiritually,” says Boyle. “Yoga can do more than just be a physical exercise.”
Boyle may be right. Yoga Alliance reveals that practitioners have a stronger sense of mental clarity, are more likely to give back to their communities, and have more agile bodies than non-practitioners and the public at large.
Boyle says that her clients typically range from ages 18 to 80. Her business offers chair yoga and community pool yoga for those who have trouble with mobility.
“There’s so many different types and so many different paces. As long as you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – Crescent Variation: Students at InBalance Yoga practice their High Lunge, Crescent Variation poses. This pose opens the hips and strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, and waist. Photo: Haven Lewis
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – Standing Split: Students practice the Standing Split pose. This pose is challenging, but will improve one’s balance over time. Photo: Haven Lewis
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – Upward Salute: Yoga instructor, Keala Mason, demonstrates the Upward Salute pose. This pose stretches the sides of the body, shoulders, spine, armpits, and belly. Photo: Haven Lewis
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – Lunge Variation: Students practice a lunge variation. For practitioners who have trouble touching the floor with these poses, blocks may be used to modify and assist. Photo: Haven Lewis
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – High Plank: A student practices the high plank pose, otherwise known as “Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana”. It is one of the Sun Salutation poses. Photo: Haven Lewis
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – High Lunge: A student focuses while practicing her High Lunge. Photo: Haven Lewis
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – Hot, Hot, Hot: Hot Vinyasa yoga is performed in a room typically heated from 85 to 90 degrees. Photo: Haven Lewis
Blacksburg, Va., Feb. 14 – Mats on Mats: Yoga mats are specially fabricated to prevent hands and feet from slipping while practicing yoga. Photo: Haven Lewis