A Move Yoga children's class. 

Carissa Barcus, co-founder of Move Yoga, said the studio had one of its best months ever at the start of 2020.

Then COVID-19 happened.

“We shut it down from our first (yoga) retreat in Big Bend and started live streaming,” she said.

When the studio was finally able to reopen, the traffic was not that of pre-pandemic times. So Barcus started brainstorming.

First, she invited Morgan Shields with RISE Fitness to share space with them at 1355 Judiway St. and lease month-to-month.

“I had been to one of her classes at the (YMCA) and also taken a class at her house,” Barcus said. “She is so great.”

Shields, who was looking to move RISE Fitness out of her house and into a rental, was on board with the space share.

“My business simply could not exist without the gift of a sublet, or the ability to have ‘roomies’ like the amazing Carissa Barcus and Mynette Randall,” Shields said. “We need each other in a post-pandemic economy.”

But Barcus and Randall weren’t done. When they looked at space to rent at the Stomping Grounds development on West 34th Street, they met Revive’s Monica Danna. And even though the rental didn’t work out, the relationship did. Danna took classes at the studio and trained to be a teacher with Move.

“We always talked about them doing yoga here,” Danna said. “We had a whole year of calendar events that had to be canceled because of COVID.”

Stomping Grounds had a big yard. And Barcus and Randall were looking for an outdoor space to offer classes in a socially distant setting. So now, every Tuesday night they offer a free flow class for students and a free yoga class for kids aged 5-10.

These classes have helped raise the visibility of Move Yoga and put eyes on the current tenants at Stomping Grounds, including Fat Cat Creamery, Her & Reese, Threadfare, Becca Cakes and Flowe Hair Salon.

“It is really great exposure for those stores that people might not know are there,” Danna said.

Another partnership for the yoga studio has been with William Price Distilling Company, 970 Wakefield Dr., where they also offer a flow class every Thursday evening, giving 10 percent of the class proceeds to the foundation that William Price has set up to help area businesses.

“Mynette bought hand sanitizer from them,” Barcus said. “Then we asked them if we could do yoga.”

William Price president Bryan Clary said they have raised more than $25,000 in large part from their hand sanitizer project. 

“Last year we also donated $5 for every bottle of our first rye release to the foundation,” Clary said.

They have donated the money to local bars, including Big Star Bar on West 19th Street and Johnny’s Gold Brick on Yale Street.

“We are continuing to look for other options on how to raise money and donate it to other bars and restaurants to help them through this tough time,” Clary said.

Another local business that donated money to help others in need was Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties owned by brothers Stacy and Tracy Mathews. Stacy and Tracy made contributions totaling $5,000 to Kids' Meals, the American Legion and to Houston residents Jorge and Cecille Mackee, who were displaced when their condo complex burned during the recent freeze.

“While home for many may mean the roof and walls around them, we also view our communities as our home," Stacy Mathews said. "So, giving back to these neighborhoods that we live in and work with has always been a priority for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties. Many people and critical organizations like Kids' Meals experienced loss during the winter storm, and it’s a privilege to help support the organizations and people who are doing great work in our communities.”

Barcus said that while they have a way to go to reach optimum levels, their attendance has increased by 20 percent.

“We can all help each other come back,” she said.

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