MANCHESTER >> Right off of Route 7 sits a large brown building underneath a Zen cloud. The building holds the new location for Stark Naturals, a fitness and wellness center that provides yoga and kickboxing classes, do-it-yourself (DIY) workshops on making soap or lip balm, and a new space for children.
After operating for a year in West Brattleboro, owner Lissa Stark saw a demand in Manchester that she's seeking to satisfy. Stark is a certified yoga teacher and reiki master teacher. She plans to teach, with two other instructors, a beginner yoga class, stretch class, insanity workout class, stretching for kids class, yoga over 50 class and a meditation 101 class.
Stark made the move in order to expand her business and when she found the property, it opened up doors for her to hold workshops and fitness classes. Folks can have a first look on April 2 during an open house that will include discounts on all products, free yoga classes and open studio in the morning as well as kid activities.
Stark said she enjoys the new location.
"It's the atmosphere I'm going for. It's got a relaxing Zen feel," she said. "When I was in Brattleboro I wasn't in downtown, I was in West Brattleboro. This spot is perfect for free parking too. Sometimes people don't want to come to a class because they get anxiety about parking. It's right near the highway, so it's convenient. It's perfect timing, and the perfect place."
Stark wants to focus on educating people about nutrition, wellness and sustainability, now that she has the space to do so. Even though she doesn't have a distinct degree in any of the above, she's picked up the information over the years.
"It's going to allow me to meet the needs of people in the area," she said. "I'm sort of polling to see what they want. People have asked for the do-it-yourself workshops and I want people to know what they can and can't eat if they're out in the woods."
The business is located on the main floor of a 3,000-square-foot house that Stark rents. The main open area is where fitness classes will be taught, alongside a kitchen and large bar table where the DIY events will take place. To the right of the main entrance way is the children's room in which story time activities will occur. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult in the children's room as well as during the children's stretching class. Ages 12 and older can participate in a lip balm making workshop and stretching classes without an adult, Stark said.
Next to the children's room is where all local items to be sold are housed. Stark sells her eco-friendly homemade soap, animal leashes and collars as well as lunch bags, totes and yoga mat carriers. There is also pottery for sale by Stark's mother. In the future, she'd like to sell more of the community's handmade products with the intent to promote the theme of sustainability and handcrafted merchandise.
Currently, Stark Naturals sells its products online. That is also where people can register for classes.
Stark said those who are certified to teach fitness classes should contact her.
Class prices range from $5 to $50 depending on the grouping. For one person, it costs $14 for a meditation 101 class, but for a four-week session of morning stretch on Tuesdays, it costs $45 per person.
For more information visit www.starknaturals.com
If you go:
What: Stark Naturals fitness and wellness center open house
Where: 2434 Depot Rd.—left off the Manchester exit
When: April 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a gentle yoga class from 10 to 10:45 a.m., open studio from noon to 1 p.m. and kids activities from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.