As many of you know, 365 days ago we opened the WheelHouse doors to the Andover community for the very first time. As some of you may know, 365 days ago, on arguably the biggest day of my life so far, I slept through my alarm for the first time I can ever recall. I panicked, I cried, I instantly thought "I can't do this", and I ran out of the house without bushing my teeth, looking at my hair or even knowing if my shirt was inside out. I hauled it down 95 from Wakefield, pulling into the lot at 26 Essex Street burning rubber, flipped on the lights, and there was our very first rider.
About 35 minutes later, while Erin was making our inaugural riders sweat, the door to the studio opened. It was my boyfriend delivering my toothbrush, toothpaste, a hairbrush and coffee. My mini (astronomical) breakdown must have woken him up ;) But, from that point on, I knew everything was going to be okay. Not just because I had coffee, which we all know helps us conquer the world, but because I knew I had people around me who wanted to be here, to support us and be part of this budding community.
Since that day, 1,670 riders have walked through our door, I have hired 5 additional amazing instructors (1 more in the making) and numerous fantastic desk girls. I have had strangers turn into riders who then turn into friends. I have seen relationships between once strangers develop into friendships you'd think were 20 years old, and I have seen my staff take to each other, help each other, encourage each other,and genuinely enjoy their time together. We were named Best of Northshore by Northshore Magazine, and this was all just in the first year! While some people may focus on the numbers, I focus on the feelings. It may come as no surprise if you ride in my classes that feeling is what I base success off. It is important to me both in and out of the saddle. Creating WheelHouse was never as much about having a business, as providing an outlet and a place for people to feel included, strong and inspired, and a chance for me to share my passion with others.
When I think back to that first day, there are times I can't believe it has been a whole year already, and there are times I'm shocked I haven't been doing this forever. Never in my life did I think I would work 7 days a week, and I certainly never expected to enjoy working those 7 days a week. But, I can honestly say, since September 8th 2015, if someone asks me where I am or what I have to do, I have never, ever said, "I have work". Because to me, this is not work. It sounds cliche, and I never believed people when they said it, but if you find something you love, you truly never work a day in your life. To me, the studio is a second home. It is where I spend the majority of my time (unless I have your sweaty towels to wash ;)), it is where I do my best thinking, it is where I catch up with all of you, who have become friends, and it is a happy place for me, and hopefully I am not alone in that.
The feeling like I have done this forever does not come from me knowing what I am doing day in and day out. There are still glitches, there is still a lot of thinking on our feet, and things we work through. The feeling of normalcy comes from all of you making it so easy. You come in with a sense of happiness, energy and determination, and no matter how I feel while I am there alone, there is an instant mood booster when a rider walks in or I open the doors to start class. You guys are what keeps me, and the rest of the staff, going every single day. If you can show up with a smile for Caitlin's 5:30am, or end your day with Katie at 6:45pm after school, work, kids and everything else, then so can we! You may think we are the ones with the motivational role, but in reality it is you.
45 minutes. To you, it is just another part of your day. It is a chance to quickly workout and get on with errands, work and everything else. To me, the 45 minutes you spend in WheelHouse is life changing. It all goes back to that first day when Kevin walked in with my toothbrush. I have surrounded myself with people who are there to share my passion, support a small local business and strive for self betterment, and I honestly do not know how I got so lucky. So as we continue this journey, thank you for taking these 45 minutes a day. Thank you for clipping in and pushing yourself to a place you did not know you could go. Thank you for trusting us with your valuable time, and for fully committing to yourself, even if it is just 45 minutes. We love seeing all of you grow and develop and strengthen your mind and body. Nothing makes us happier than hearing you have reached a weight loss goal, you have shaved minutes off your miles, or you feel you finally have connected with the beat and can do the choreography you couldn't do 2 months prior. Your hustle, is an absolute driving force for us. When we see you bring it, we have no choice but to match that, so thank you for bettering us!
To my OG's, Erin, Caitlin, Lauren, Tiffany and Kelly, thank you for taking this leap with me, for standing by me, for going with the flow and putting up with my antics. To Katie, Jaime, Kristen, Elise, Christina, and Jamie, thank you for fitting the mold so perfectly. For coming into this headfirst and putting your whole heart into it. There is a lot that goes into this that people do not see, and that is a good thing, it means they are doing their job if it seems effortless. It is far from effortless, requires a lot of back work, and they do it with a smile. So thank you. To my desk girls who have come and gone, whether it be full time jobs, or college, thank you for giving me your time, and for taking this as seriously as we do. To my friends and family, thank you for your endless support, and although I cannot pay my dad or brothers to take a class, they are there to help with anything I need. And to Kevin, who got me out of bed that very first day, and has adjusted to this crazy lifestyle which involves being bound to Andover, never being able to do his own laundry because towels are always in the dryer, and going to bed at 9pm, thank you.
One strong year down, many more, stronger years to come.