It’s no secret that the coronavirus put a stranglehold on society as we know it when it first overran the globe in March 2020. The shutdown had huge economical impacts for many small businesses, forcing a number of them to close their doors for good.
However, this is the story of a business that went against the grain that year. Opening just two weeks before the pandemic began, Form 01945 not only survived the pandemic, but is expanding and doing better than ever after celebrating its three-year anniversary on March 1.
Owner Kelly Lorenz moved from Boston to Marblehead in 2012. After almost two decades in the photography field, she decided it was time to embark on a new journey.
“After 18 years of doing photography, I decided that I needed to get out of that world,” said Lorenz. “I had done everything I needed to do in photography and it was time to move on.”
Getting involved in fitness was her first choice.
She began teaching at a fitness studio in Marblehead, and her passion for helping people achieve their goals led her to open her own studio on March 1, 2020. Just two weeks later, everything had shut down due to the pandemic. With little experience in owning a fitness studio, Lorenz questioned how her business would survive.
“My initial reaction was ‘Oh my gosh, how do I continue this?’ I really didn’t know what I was doing at that point.”
Lorenz needed to adjust quickly, but how? No one on the planet had experienced anything like this before. There was no blueprint, no step by step manual. It was up to individuals to decide how to manage the situation.
So that’s exactly what she did. After the initial chaos subsided, Lorenz took charge and began teaching virtually.
“I was new to the business. My clients were still needing to work out, so within 24 hours we pivoted and just did everything online,” she said. “I kind of just went into survival mode and just did it. I decided that I was going to lead the workout online, in my gym.”
With people’s everyday lives being turned upside-down and coming to a complete halt, Lorenz knew that despite most activities being shut down, exercising was still on the table. In fact, it became necessary for many.
“I immediately thought ‘Ok, people are still relying on us to lead them through workouts, and they still need their workout now more than ever with all the stress in the world.’ ”
Later on in the pandemic, Lorenz worked with Marblehead Recreation and Parks to hold socially-distanced outside workouts at local parks and beaches when it became acceptable. She added that being able to do workouts virtually and outside was a huge factor in keeping the business afloat.
In August of 2021, Form 01945 opened a second studio in the same building, located off of Bessom Street, and added a second class. In October of 2022, three more classes were added after expanding to the first floor and creating another studio that helped the business double in size.
A business that started off with one class at the beginning of a pandemic has now expanded to two floors and offers five different programs: Tread; Form; Kut; Core; and Build.
Lorenz said that her business has gone from roughly 30 clients to more than 100 clients and almost a thousand visits a week between the studios.
She said that employment at FORM 01945 has doubled as well, and that full time manager Peri West played a big role in getting the business to where it is now.
“Her hand in this whole thing has been really amazing,” Lorenz said. “She supported me the whole entire way, as did my whole entire team.”
When exercising, the more work that is put in, the more benefits are seen. That mentality is how Lorenz’s team was able to keep fighting through the pandemic. She said there was no doubt that it was a complete team effort.
“They did everything that I asked them to do and more, they would come to me with suggestions. The whole thing really is not about me and my journey, it’s 100 percent our team that came together to lead our clients to move their bodies every single day.”
Going forward, Lorenz says that Form 01945 is working on advancing its strength and conditioning program. It is also preparing to launch another program, focused on running, that will help people train for a 5K, or half marathon race.