One day soon as people walk down the main street of Calistoga they will see more than restaurants, tasting rooms and art galleries. They will see a place that will inspire health and wellness and a creative space to achieve them, the owners of a fitness business hope.
Donovan and Jacqi Almond, owners of Calistoga Fit, which operates a portion of their program at Calistoga Hot Springs Spa and Resort are expanding their Calistoga Fit business to a space on Lincoln Avenue where they hope the main-street visibility of their business will bring the city closer to an all-encompassing wellness scene.
The spa and mud scene has done a good job in making Calistoga a healing kind of destination, Donovan Almond said, and adding the exercise portion will round out that concept.
“I fell in love with this community over the last 10 years. I wanted to figure out a way to make Calistoga a wellness destination. We’ve been trying to make fitness another stable part of that wellness piece, with the spa portion. This will get us a step closer,” said Donovan Almond.
Their expansion spot, located between Calistoga Bike Shop and Copperfield’s Bookstore, will hold what Almond called their “barefoot-kind of activities,” while leaving their weight-training and other gym workouts at the Calistoga Hot Springs location. Classes such as yoga and Pilates will be held at the Lincoln Avenue space. That location, with its storefront visibility, is likely to draw in tourists for drop-in classes, Almond said, and may include some trending fitness routines such as boxing. They’ve already conducted “one or two” boxing fitness programs in the past, and “might be able to do more since we will have more room,” he said.
The additional space will allow Calistoga Fit to experiment and add new programs and partnerships, such as the relationship they’ve developed with the Calistoga Recreation Department that offers a variety of classes at reasonable rates in town.
As people – tourists and locals alike – wander up and down Lincoln Avenue, Almond hopes they will see the activity inside – which will soon include “silks” that hang from the ceiling that are used in yoga exercises “where you almost feel like you’re doing Cirque du Soleil” – and want to come in for a work-out, even just to “give it a try,” he said.
Calistoga Fit’s membership has grown steadily, and this expansion space will allow the program to accommodate more people and more classes. There will be regularly scheduled classes for locals to count on, and an opportunity for visitors who are looking to knock off some wine-tasting calories to be able to drop in, though signing up in advance is helpful in scheduling, Almond said.
Classes will remain small, varying in size depending on the type of class, and will vary in price from about $15 to $25 per class, depending on the type and length of class.
They’ve always tried to “be a step ahead” in what they provide, and plan to incorporate a kids’ activity program into the broader scope of their business. Almond first started in Calistoga running the fitness program at Solage and held kids’ activity programs there that were successful. He’s thinking that a weekend program where parents can drop off their children, who will be kept engaged with a variety of activities, will allow adults to go out and enjoy a meal with drinks and not be worried about the kids being bored.
The kids will be kept busy with “games, movie and fitness type things,” such as gymnastics, and hopefully, be zonked and ready for bed when the parents pick them up.
In addition to the silks, the new space will include radiant floor heating, new wood floors, painting and new mirrors. It will be a “clean looking space” Almond said, who is hoping to open by early- to mid-April. There will be restrooms with enough space for changing clothes, but no locker room space.
Almond also conducts fitness classes at other Auberge properties, such as Calistoga Ranch and Auberge du Soleil. Calistoga Fit partners with local establishments that provide discounts to members.
Editor’s note: Calistoga Fit provides a free regular fitness-related column for The Weekly Calistogan.