One of Rutland’s newest businesses is helping over 200 clients find their center, and it’s been one month since its grand opening.
The second floor of the old Salvation Army building on Wales Street was sold to True Yoga owner and Seattle-native Liz Patnode earlier this year. Patnode was the former owner of Bikram Yoga in Mendon.
Patnode said she originally moved to Pittsfield in 2006 to help others start their own businesses, including her cousin, who started the Spartan Death Race, but found herself wanting to come back to what she said nourished her spirit: yoga.
“I started from nothing,” Patnode said. “It’s a 10-year model. ... I started with a space heater and a donation bucket.”
“As a new teacher, this is like a studio in Boston,” said Stefanie DeSimone, who teaches yoga at True when she’s not throwing pots with her students at Rutland High School. “This is like ... key to my yoga career.”
But Patnode’s studio in Pittsfield was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene, so she moved her studio into Mendon, where she started Bikram Yoga.
Once her lease was up, Patnode said, she found herself wondering what was next, and took the advice of a few locals who told her Rutland was an up-and-coming place to be, and looked around.
She found the old Salvation Army building, operating two mortgages, and thought the place had character and potential to be a bright, beautiful space.
“But you know ... I wasn’t going to buy a building,” Patnode said. “But the building was in contract.”
Patnode said she was informed that two men from Boston had already planned to start a restaurant in the building back in the fall, but while with her family during the Christmas holiday, she received a phone call: The building was still available.
“My dad and I looked at it, and the bones are good,” Patnode said. “We closed on it in a month.”
Though she first considered the bottom floor of the building for her studio, the top floor had the energy Patnode wanted, and soon she found herself ripping up the layers placed over the original wood floors and making the 4,200 square-foot space her own.
“We went through four or five layers of stuff,” Patnode said. “Carpet, linoleum ... we took it down to its original luster and brought it back.”
Orchids grace many of the window frames and the floors have been polished with tung oil, and wide white linens soften the lights in the studio rooms.
The studio now has 10 full-time teachers and hundreds of clients, two yoga rooms, changing rooms with bathrooms and showers, and a lobby retail store where clients can purchase anything from Eureka Kombucha on tap and Luce Farm CBD-infused honey to active wear, water bottles and yoga mats.
“The humidifier is connected to the waterline, so it’s bringing new air in and sending old air out,” Patnode said. “It allows you to sweat, so it’s super healing and cleansing.”
In the future, Patnode said, she’s considering bringing a cold-press juice business, or another health-related offering to occupy the downstairs space, and said she hopes the new hotel proposed for downtown comes through.
“Then all the (yoga) retreats can happen here,” Patnode said.
The classes, which are offered three days a week, are all low-impact, full-body workouts, and are available to beginners and advanced students alike.
“We’re planning for the long game here,” Patnode said. “Rutland’s going to keep growing, and we’re positioning ourselves to be the center of the community and the center of fitness.”
DeSimone taught yoga for a year before taking a hot yoga class at True Yoga, and decided she’d like to be more than just a customer.
“I wanted to settle at one studio,” DeSimone said. “I wanted to be a part of just one community. ... Liz has lineage. ... You go in as an apprentice, as a new teacher. As a guppy. This is an incredible pond to start living in.”