New Webster fitness studio strives to make you, and our community, stronger

26 Dec

A funny thing happened when I went to visit the new M/Body studio in the Village of Webster the other day.

M/Body Webster moved into the former Roc & Soul Fitness studio at 44 E. Main St. in November. Curious to find out more about the new studio, I sat and chatted with owner Molly Flaherty for almost an hour. Our conversation ranged all over the map, but after I left I realized that in all that time, we hadn’t once talked about the studio’s workout spaces, equipment, classes, or instructors.

So I had to send her an email a few days later so she could fill me in about all that. About the 3500-feet of studio space, high-energy instructors, three different kinds of cycle classes, and all sorts of challenging programs like the Pilates and ballet-inspired M/BodyBarre; M/BodyHIIT for cardio and strength conditioning; M/BodySculpt light-weight workout; DanceFusion, Pilates and yoga.

But all of the beautiful equipment, experienced instructors and wide variety of classes are really just part of the greater purpose Molly Flaherty has in mind for her new studio. THAT is mostly what we talked about — her personal commitment to community, and her vision of how she wants her business to become an integral part of our town.

M/Body Webster is actually the studio’s second location in our area. The first, M/Body Rochester, is located on Clinton Ave., having moved there just a few months ago after operating for many years on University Ave. The city-based studio has long been known for its welcoming, inclusive atmosphere, and its close alliances with the city of Rochester.

“I’ve always been a cheerleader to create a strong city,” Molly said, so she’s helped create free, community-based programs like Yoga for a Good Hood and the Roc Free Fitness Initiative to encourage city residents to get out and get fit. The studio also frequently teams up with other fitness studios for special community-wide events.

Molly wants to bring that community-based focus to Webster, and has already begun to get involved in Village events, partnering with her business neighbors, and even her competitors.

As soon as she knew she’d be opening a studio in Webster, she said, “The first thing I (did) is simply introduce myself to competing entities like Burn Bootcamp and Element Yoga…. I’m not looking to poach, I’m looking to enhance. The more options, the fitter the community, the better it is for everybody.”

Then she introduced herself to her business neighbors in the village. “I tell them what we’re doing, what we’re for, get any concerns they may have. We build relationships and potential collaboration.”

“It’s always about working together, not against,” she added. “Community over competition.”

Expanding to a second location really wasn’t even on Molly’s radar, especially immediately after relocating her city studio. But when she found out that the Roc & Soul studio was becoming available, the timing just seemed right. Plus, Webster is Molly’s hometown, and where she opened her first studio many years ago. So expanding to a location in the village, she said, “seems like coming home.”

“I would not have done this for any other location, not this soon after that massive move,” she said. “This is home. I just love the familiar faces I’m seeing. … It seems like it’s all culminating, how everything worked out as it should have worked out.” 

Molly knows, of course, that customers come through her door to take her fitness classes. But she’s committed to making sure they also feel like they’re part of a larger community, because community and fitness are integral partners. She said,

Our whole goal is always to be the most inclusive, welcoming, albeit challenging, environment in which everybody can come in and define themselves. … What’s right for you might not be right for someone else, so let’s find what works. It’s all about making sure people are taking care of themselves, in a long-term way that fits them.

If we’re truly in it to make sure people are healthy and well, especially post-Covid, then we really have a responsibility. It’s not just about making a ton of money. It’s not about us. I’ve felt that from my toes forever. If what M/Body offers isn’t right for somebody, I’d like to help them find what is.

M/Body Webster is located at 44 E. Main Street in the Village of Webster, in the lower parking lot. Click here to see their website for more information and a full schedule of classes.  

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(posted 12/26/2022)

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