SLR Pilates has room to grow in new studio

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2015

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT A glimpse of SLR Pilates's new studio in Niles.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
A glimpse of SLR Pilates’s new studio in Niles.

Stepping into the new SLR Pilates studio on a morning in mid-December, it is easy to forget that the weather outside — while not frightful — is at least dreary, wet and overcast.

Owner Stephanie Reno, a fit and trim 1996 Niles High School graduate, provides a cheerful greeting before talking glowingly about her new 2,400-square foot space inside the former Gallery building at the corner of Second and Main streets.

Bathed in soft natural light coming through a series of large glass windows on the east and south walls, the brand new dark faux hardwood flooring seems to stretch on forever across the mirrored open-concept studio.

“You are coming in thinking that you are in a small town, but yet you walk in here and it is like a big city studio atmosphere,” she said. “It is something you wouldn’t see in most places, especially in downtown Niles.”

The new space is in stark contrast to the one she was in when she opened the studio in April of 2014 at 226 1/2 E. Main Street — a 700-square foot second-floor studio, just a few doors down from a chocolate shop.

It was difficult, she said, just to get people to notice she was there.

That’s not a problem now.

“Here we are visible,” she said. “The first two weeks we had 30 new clients. The exposure is amazing”


Pretty much fate

Reno said she used to tease the Niles Main Street manager about renting out the Gallery building space to her, knowing it was not a possibility.

The space had to be purchased, she said, and doing so would mean about $1 million in renovations — money she didn’t have.

“It just wasn’t an option,” she said.

When UltraCamp purchased the building in April, Reno convinced the owners to allow her to lease a portion of the structure.

She helped design the space to exactly what she wanted.

“Pretty much I say it was fate,” she said, adding that she and the UltraCamp owner had a coincidental connection in that both grew up in the Toledo, Ohio area. “It’s funny. Everything aligned the way it is supposed to.”


Mind and body

Although active as a youth, Reno wasn’t always into fitness.

She said she developed back problems while working at a bank during the day and waitressing at night more than a decade ago.

To cope, she began doing Pilates by VHS tape at home before joining group classes and eventually teaching at local fitness centers.

Not happy with the way the classes were taught, Reno decided to do things her way and opened her own studio in Niles in the spring of 2014.

Although she didn’t want to say how many clients she has now, she said business has grown to the point where clients are on a waiting list for classes — which max out at 20.

Reno and her four SLR instructors Allie Sumrall, Nicole Kellogg, Kim Welling and Jessica Likens offer yoga, Pilates and barre, which is a combination of yoga, Pilates and ballet. Classes, Reno said, range from private, to semi-private to group sessons. She also offers student athlete training.

“We focus here on body proper form and body alignment, so when you come here you are learning — you aren’t just following a teacher,” she said. “Everything we do here is a practice.”

The benefits, she said, go beyond the mat.

“We really focus on the mind body connection. You are getting strong with your body, but also with your mind. It is life changing.”

For more information, contact SLR (Stephanie Lynn Reno) Pilates by phone at (269) 340-4990, online at or find it on Facebook.