ANNABELLE JONES: “WHEN WE WERE 20 YEARS OLD I REMEMBER MY HUSBAND ASKING ME IF I COULD DO ANYTHING FOR WORK, WHAT WOULD I DO. I TOLD HIM THAT I WANTED TO OPEN A FITNESS STUDIO.”
Annabelle Jones is the owner of Pilates ProWorks on Broadway.
Both of your parents were competitive athletes and you have three sisters. What was it like growing up in a competitive athletic family?
Well that’s a loaded question Raziel! There are some wonderful things about growing up in an athletic and highly competitive family. One of the things that I am thankful for is that my parents were focused on health and fitness as a lifestyle rather than a diet or fad. We grew up learning the importance of eating healthy food and keeping active. This is something that stuck with us through adulthood.
My parents always encouraged us to try as many new things (sports, music and art) as we could and we learned that practice makes consistency. If you are thoughtful and diligent in your practice, it will develop into a habit or part of your routine and become second nature to you. We learned to work hard, stay focused and enjoy the process.
On the flip side, I could have done without the “family weekend runs” (or races as my sisters and I are highly competitive), practicing hurdles around the block during off-season of track or the 6am lap swimming just for the “fun” of it during Wisconsin winters! Still to this day if we are all together as a family, it’s challenging not to have competition creep in whether we’re playing a game or setting a bet where the loser has to do “x” number of push ups.
What kind of impact did that have on you?
I think a lot of my drive and work ethic is a result of my upbringing and my devotion to athletics and music during my youth which is all positive. However, I’m a perfectionist so there’s a fine line that I need to be cognizant of where I maintain a healthy balance in my life between work, family and me. This is something I’m constantly working at especially now that I have my own family. I want to make sure that I maintain and model a balanced and healthy life for my little girl.
You played in a symphony orchestra, performed with college orchestras, and even auditioned for the Detroit Orchestra, all while in high school. How do you think music influenced your life?
Music has always been a passion of mine, ever since I was a tiny girl. I used to watch “The Music Man” with my sisters and grandpa and I very much wanted to play the tuba. Well the tuba was a bit large for me, so I settled on the trumpet. I started taking private lessons from an early age and found it to be a talent of mine. I dedicated a lot of time and practice to it, started auditioning from a young age for various orchestras and ensembles and had a lot of great experiences as take-a-ways. I traveled as a child with the American Suzuki Institute, gigged in Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis during holidays or when requested, started a private studio, taught lessons and played with the college and professionals while in junior high and high school. To have had the opportunity to travel, spend as much time as I did with people much older than I and experienced in the world, as well as play with the Detroit Symph, to say my life will be forever changed is an understatement. Those experiences have impacted my life and influenced me in so many ways. I’ve learned what true dedication and practice can give you, I’ve learned how hard work can but doesn’t always pay off but that shouldn’t take your eyes off your goal. I’ve learned how putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, although uncomfortable at times, is such a wonderful way to grow as an individual. The list goes on and on. I have noticed that my 1 year old is IN LOVE with music and when I sing to her or play an instrument, she seems like she may have perfect pitch like her mama! We’ll see!
What’s it like being a brick and mortar entrepreneur?
I have to say this journey of retiring from my career as an Executive in the Financial Services industry to focus on my health, my family and building a business here in the community has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve always been a hard worker and focused on growing a business and ensuring that it is extremely successful. What a wonderful thing I get to do where I’m not on the road traveling on planes every week and instead, I get to be here with my family, raise my daughter, build a business that my community will love and where I get to be more involved in the community and give back. It’s so great to get to know my neighbors and the Burlingame community and hear their feedback and excitement around the studio and how it’s helping change their lives in a positive way. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity.
As an important part of the revitalization of the business community on Broadway, what do see coming next?
It’s so exciting to be a new business during the revitalization of the business community on Broadway. Being a resident of Burlingame, my husband and I have always loved the charm that Broadway offers and the convenience of being able to walk there. We soft-opened Pilates ProWorks in December and had our Grand Opening Day at the end of January. We had over 300 new people taking classes on GO Day! That’s 300+ additional people coming to Broadway in a matter of hours! On average right now, we have over 600 people coming in and out taking classes not to mention foot traffic and we only expect more as we continue to offer more classes. I have every bit of confidence that Pilates ProWorks will continue to grow and thrive, and with that, bring more residents of this community to this beautiful street. The business owners on Broadway and our community have been very responsive via surveys and city planning meetings to let the Planning Commission and Council know that they would like Broadway to receive a little TLC as well as bring in a few new shops and or restaurants to add to our street. The Planning Commission needs to continue to hear the voices of our community so I would like to encourage everyone to speak up.
Your idea to first open a fitness studio came about quite a while ago, and it’s been a journey. How did it happen?
My husband and I met when we were 20 years old and I remember him asking me if I could do anything for work, what would I do. I told him that I wanted to open a fitness studio of some sort. I wanted it to offer a variety of activities that translated to all fitness levels and skill levels. I wasn’t sure that it was going to be Pilates ProWorks until about 5-6 years ago when I fell in love with the variety of workouts and it helped me rehab from some medical challenges I was facing. At the time I was living in San Francisco and was an Executive in the Financial Services industry, always traveling and on the road but never missed the chance to workout at Pilates ProWorks when I was home. I met the owners and became friends with them over the years. We started having conversations about the fact that I wanted to open up a studio at some point and long story short, I told them my husband and I were moving to Burlingame and that I would love to open my own studio down here, so we did! It took over a year to find the perfect location but we couldn’t be more happy of the result!
So what made you decide to finally follow your dream and open your first studio after 16 years?
Well that story is best served over a glass of wine or maybe a martini. I had made the decision that I was going to open a studio at some point but didn’t know how soon I’d be able to do it. At the time I had a very successful career and with that came a lot of travel as I mentioned, as well as basically working non stop every day/night. Being the over achiever that I am, I was running myself ragged over the years and it took a HUGE toll on my health. After years of struggling with my health, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, celiac and a couple other related challenges, was treated for melanoma and my stress level was through the roof. I had an extremely challenging pregnancy all the while continuing to travel and work the long hours I always have… oh and work with our planning commission to jump through the hoops of getting necessary permits to open Pilates ProWorks. I had full intentions of doing everything, both businesses and be a mom. My health continued to deteriorate and I was forced to make a decision of what mattered more… my health and family or being SuperWoman on the business side. I chose my health and family and retired from my job in Financial Services. That brings us here to today where I have been able to balance being a mom, wife and new business owner. I couldn’t be happier!
What do people love the most about your classes?
We recently surveyed our members and it was great to hear such positive feedback and comments. Everyone seems to really enjoy the variety of classes we offer, the flexibility of times and the fact that every teacher and class is different… it’s never the same one day to the next. There are no beginner or advanced classes, we all are trained to provide modifications and variations for all skill levels as well as injuries which is much appreciated. There’s such great energy in the studio, everyone is friendly, encouraging of each other and motivating which is probably one of the things I enjoy most as well!