Hannah Kovacs, owner of Move East in Halifax
As fitness studios race to offer online classes, the competition for “sweat-attention” has never been tougher. In the new normal, consumers are no longer tethered to local studios; instead they can virtually participate in any class. That’s why the owner of Move East in Halifax, Hannah Kovacs, retained local business by supporting her community while creating a world-class product that anyone online could access.
“We prioritized creating a high-quality streaming experience, offering convenience and ease-of-use. This has helped us reach communities far beyond our geographical reach, creating awareness and letting people get to know our amazing roster of instructors.” – Hannah Kovacs, owner of Move East.
Move East opened a mere 4 months before the pandemic hit. It was a blow to the business, but resilient owner Hannah Kovacs saw it as an opportunity to pivot her fitness studio online. She built a custom platform, and so far, they’ve streamed nearly 100 classes with over 5,600 participations.
As a way to stay relevant with her local community, Kovacs gave back to those in need. Initially, she offered free Instagram Live classes and raised over $1,500 for Feed Nova Scotia. She also worked with a local artist to create a print of Nova Scotia, which could be purchased through the Move East website, with 100% of the proceeds going to families impacted by the tragic Nova Scotia shooting and mental health initiatives across the province. This inspired the local community to foster an even deeper connection with Move East, and follow its journey.
Adjusting your business model and trying to find ways to stay connected to your community can be challenging. But there is a silver lining for owners starting to offer their services online. New streams of income are being opened up, and they could remain even after reopening. In times of change, it’s important to look for potential opportunities. “We expect that a strong virtual offering will be required to bridge the gap between those who aren't comfortable in a group setting and those willing to venture in-studio.” Working out is an incredible coping mechanism and stress reliever, so gyms and studios will continue to be a service many rely on, whether virtually or in person.
Although Kovacs built the platform, she believes her instructors and coaches are the heartbeat of the business. “They take so much care in delivering high-quality workouts and staying connected with our members.” The staff has felt an incredible amount of gratitude to have so much community support. It’s inspiring to see that the customer base has not only grown but strengthened. This continues to motivate everyone at Move East and gives them hope that when they are able to reopen, they’ll have an even stronger foundation to build on. Move East moved online and now has the means to move upwards and onwards in this new era.
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