Emeryville Small Business Profiles: Core Society Fitness founder Emily Yang
Emily Yang has always been a bit of a workout fanatic. She’s tried a bit of everything throughout the years including Spinning, Yoga, CrossFit, etc. She ended up falling in love with the Lagree Fitness Method.
“I wanted to find something I could still do when I’m sixty and beyond. It works for my body and I saw the results I wanted immediately.” It was this passion that led her to open Core Society Fitness in Emeryville.
Lagree was founded by Los Angeles-based fitness instructor Sebastien Lagree and is loosely based on Pilates using his patented “Megaformer” machine. His method gained popularity when it was embraced by a few high-profile Hollywood celebrities including the Kardashians, Selena Gomez and Sofia Vergara. “It’s low impact, but high intensity,” Yang noted.
Emily was living in the East Bay and working on the Peninsula for a Solar Company “I loved my job, I loved the fast paced nature of it, but I didn’t have a lot of free time because of my commute. The only way to stick with a workout regiment is to find time either before or after work that works with your schedule.”
Yang discovered a studio on the peninsula where she got certified and began teaching. “I kept asking why there wasn’t a studio in the East Bay. I saw how successful it was in other areas and I was confident it could be here too.”
Emily noted that she’s always wanted to own her own business and be her own boss. “My parents are pretty conservative and discouraged it initially, but now they’re absolutely supportive of me.”
Emily lives nearby in North Oakland with her husband, stepson and their dog “lucky”. “I printed out a map of our area and drew a five-mile radius circle around my house.” Emily looked at maybe twenty or so places before she settled on the vacant space next to 7-Eleven near the busy intersection of San Pablo Avenue and 40th Street.
The location had the benefits of high visibility, parking and the right square-ish footprint that has wall space for mirrors and is free of obstructive beams.
After talking with the property manager, Emily was encouraged that this space was the right fit. She negotiated some small improvements to provide a bit of privacy for her clients and signed a lease.
The location, which is less than two miles from her home, couldn’t be more convenient for Emily’s busy lifestyle. “I can actually run here as my warm up.”
CSF opened their doors to the public in August 2016 and the reaction was encouraging. “We reached out to the local business community and neighbors and offered a week of free classes. We quickly filled up and retained many of our original clients.” One year later, her clientele continues to grow and she’s expanded her operation to include an office manager and a growing roster of trainers.
Like many small business entrepreneurs, Emily still has one foot in corporate America and fortunate to have a flexible schedule with her primary employer. “I feel like I work 80 hours a week attending to all the small things a small business requires.”
Emily noted she had a great experience with The City of Emeryville Planning Department during her build out, but acknowledges the lack of networking and promotion opportunities in the city. She’d also like to see more support by the City getting signage approved to give her business additional exposure. “The cost was unfortunately prohibitive.”
CSF’s classes are 45 minutes of music driven workouts designed to build strength, endurance, flexibility, and mental strength. “I’m not going to lie, It’s a challenging workout, but it is effective and inclusive” Yang concluded. “Come two to four times a week and you’ll notice gains within a month.”