A History of the Evolution of Evolution Pilates

I opened the doors to Evolution Pilates on August 15, 2003 in beautiful Port Washington diagonally across the street from the Town Dock and remained in this location for our first 2 years. Back when I was still in magazine publishing and I would drive through town, teaching or owning a studio weren’t even thoughts in my head yet but I thought that this location would be a nice place to work out. I remembered that years ago, long before it was the ribbon store that it was prior to our tenancy, it had once been a fitness place – I wish I could remember the name. I think it was something like No Butts About It. When I left magazine publishing the space was empty and seemed to be calling to me.

I converted the space to one large open space and filled it with 5 Reformers, 5 Chairs, a Cadillac and Ladder Barrel. It was a really lovely spot and the color theme of the studio was 2 shades of blue to play off the logo and the beach glass you can still see in the mosaic of our logo (which is a minimalist interpretation of a teaser) that hangs above our front desk today. A co-worker from my former life did the honors with the logo design, as well as some great flyers and copy for early ads. I was very lucky to have people who got my vision and were happy to support me in my new endeavor. The first studio carried a tag line of ‘waters edge studio’ that can be seen in the signage on the building. Our tagline these days is “feel the difference” because I guess I said it so much while teaching and also because I want this studio to feel different from other places. It just kind of stuck.

Listen to Mo Wolfe, Owner of Evolution Pilates, on the Business in Boardshorts podcast!

Our First Two Locations

The apparatus was all in a color called Fjord – no longer made in our shade (it’s like turquoise now) and meant to remind me of the vibe I felt when I first began my practice in California 21 years ago. The studio had two curved reception stations that I loved. I filled the sides in with a mosaic of beach glass – my artistic contribution to the space. We had lovely planters with beach grass in front of the studio but sadly they were stolen. I like to think they were so nice someone just had to have them.

Despite all my 15 years in Corporate America, I had overestimated my space needs and underestimated my budget, so when my lease was up, I decided needed to downsize a bit in terms of both space and rent. We moved into an office building on the corner of Monroe and Main Street – a great middle Main Street location. In a shortsighted decision I sold the Ladder Barrel because it was not being used very much and took up too much space. I also had to trim our sign down, and with the new location, dropped the “waters edge studio”. I took one large room and a small room to separate our classes and private offerings a bit more effectively while keeping costs low. With overhead where it needed to be this space allowed us to hold rates steady. Not being store front helped with the unusual hours of a Pilates studio. Paying premium rent for a retail location and then being closed in the middle of the day is a strange thing to do.

A little opposite of “if you build it, they will come”, no sooner had we moved than we found ourselves very busy and outgrowing the space. Luckily another office in the same building opened up and I took it, adding 6 Towers into the mix so we could offer a wider array of classes.

With the 3 spaces in this building and the number of years we had been there, my rent was steadily increasing, and I felt the rest of the building was in need of some attention. So many buildings were empty on Main Street, I thought we might be able to once again improve our space needs and perhaps save money at the same time thereby being able to pass the savings onto our clients.

Our Third Location

I found our third home down the block – a beautiful 2 story building that allowed us to have an upper and lower level ½ a block away from our prior home. It had a beautiful brick wall right when you walked in, big picture window and a huge skylight. After being in small inner offices, this was a huge and welcome change, even if at times we felt like it was a fishbowl when people would look in through the window, and we were now a retail space, so we tried to address hour hours issue with signage on the windows.

We had Reformers and Cadillac upstairs, Towers and Chairs downstairs. We purchased an additional Reformer bringing the total to 6 and an additional Chair bringing the total to 6 as well. This allowed us to increase class sizes and offer some combo classes. We spent two years in this location. We made a break with our blue walls at this location because it was already painted a beautiful golden color that just worked so nicely with our apparatus and allowed for a quick turnaround on the move. While we liked this location a lot, the steps to the lower level were not ideal for some of our clients and we had issues with the Heat and AC as well as the landlord which we would have worked through, but we ideally were looking for more space to add some new apparatus, so we began to look once more.

Our Current Location

Womsan entering Evolution Pilates studio in Port Washington NY

We found our current home which had been a fitness studio and then a pottery place right before us. I loved the industrial feel of the space and the ease of the municipal lot. We leaned into it, going for the cream, black and gray color scheme, initially still with our Fjord apparatus. We have been in this spot the longest. We started with Reformers and Cadillac in the front room and Towers and Chairs in the back.

We reconfigured our use of the space when we hit the 5-year mark and were faced with the decision to stay or move again in search of more space. We opted to stay and flipped the rooms which allowed us to add 2 more towers. It was at this time that our colors switched from our Fjord blue to black. Most Pilates apparatus lasts a lifetime. That said, the upholstery does not. The mats lose the cushiness over time and they may get nicks and cuts in the leather. Since our color no longer existed and redoing the mats, is so costly, we decided to upgrade them all when we got the 2 new towers.

Down the road if we have to reupholster it will be much easier on this type of mat versus our old ones. We recently reconfigured the entryway and are trying to maximize every inch of space to create a well-organized workout space and create space for some more new acquisitions. The pedipole and pushup devices are here, the armchair arrives next week. We love the black, especially with this space. Now I want the floors to be lighter so we will probably put new flooring in over the holidays since this lease runs for another four years and it will spruce things up a bit and probably help with the acoustics. We are considering swapping our Reformers and Chairs for more classical apparatus.

There is a very active resale market for Pilates apparatus, which lasts forever. We have sold items and parts as we have made changes and continue to do so to allow us to evolve as change as our needs do. It was a big part of coming up with the name for the studio. I knew it would never be a stagnant thing. It would always be changing and evolving, just as I was.

What has remained constant throughout each move? We never missed a day, even if we had to alter a class or had no phone service, and our staff and clients followed us to each new home, supportive every step of the way!