A new shape

Published 5:04 am Friday, January 9, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS -- Women in Cassopolis are joining the newest craze moving in a circle to music going around and around.
The newest business in Cassopolis is Curves on North Broadway, helping not only to improve the way women in the community look, but also changing an eyesore into a viable addition to the village.
Patti met the new owners of the nearby Curves in Edwardsburg, Ann Bermudez and Paula Johnson, when they all went to "club camp" in Waco, Texas for certification.
They live in Plainwell, about an hour away, where David is in construction. When a subcontractor told how his wife had opened a Curves in Vicksburg, David researched the franchise over the internet.
Her daughter Tandi, 23, who just completed nursing school helps out and her son Mike is presently serving in Iraq.
There are three employees, Brenda Butler of Dowagiac, Bekah Biek of Cassopolis and LeeAnn Toy of Dowagiac, who works the evening shift.
Hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 and 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the number joining continuing to grow.
She has already learned from those coming to the Decatur location, "they want to socialize" in this comfortable setting. During the 30 minute workout, they have someone to talk to and music to listen to.
The owner of the former Keena's Closet removed inside walls, installed a new carpet and fans and made what Patti calls "a perfect space" to lease for the business. The great windows to the south add light and energy to the room.
With assistance from the corporate office, they have painted designs and slogans on the walls to encourage those working out. One proclaims, "Life may not be the party we hoped for … but while we are here we might as well dance."
Presently there are eight hydraulic resistance machines and eight aerobic recovery stations. Plans call for an additional five machines added later.
The idea of Curves is to help area women to lose weight, tone up and become healthier, in just 30 minutes three times a week.
Curves offers a new concept in exercise along with weight-loss guidance, especially in smaller communities where larger exercise facilities do not exist.
Placing a variety of machines in a circle, the women complete a circuit, moving when the music stops. This allows placement in a less than 1,000 square feet building and still offers a workout in just half an hour. There is no schedule, and members can come in and start at any station.
The combination of the machines and recovery stations produces both a cardiovascular and strength training workout. The cycle end with a stretching routine. Any age or condition can participate.
The developers of the system believe Curves is the key to permanent weight loss, without muscle loss.
One of the fastest growing franchises in the world, Curves opens in a new location every 18 hours and 4,500 locations can be found in 50 states, along with Canada, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.
National advertisements and promotions encourage local memberships. This month, you can try out Curves by bringing in proof of purchase of three Kraft Food items. In March a food drive to replenish local food pantries will be sponsored by Curves.
For an appointment at Curves call 269/445-6116. There are many specials running during January including free designer bags they will tell you about. Members are asked to bring non-street shoes for the workout, which can be left there, if you wish.
For Tara Skorupa, a membership to Curves was on her Christmas list. It is also her only resolution for the new year -- to get in shape and lose weight and look good for her husband David of one and a half years.