Sara Franko was more than disappointed when she moved to the suburbs from Chicago when she found no exercise programs geared toward new and pregnant moms.
“There was nothing!” she says.
So she decided to launch her own franchise of FIT4MOM, a program that caters to women. Her first location opened in LaGrange, and she is planning another one in Naperville early next year.
“I’m aiming for March, the latest. It’s all about finding the right instructor,” says Franko, thrilled at recently opening a FIT4MOM in LaGrange.
She discovered the program when living in Chicago. She was pregnant with her first child.
“Four years ago when I got pregnant, I still lived in the city. I was looking for some prenatal fitness, and I found FIT4MOM,” Franko says. “I really enjoyed it.”
Once her daughter was born, Franko transitioned to Stroller Strides, a program that lets moms bring their little ones along for the ride.
“It’s a great way to stay in shape and also stay in touch with other moms,” she says. “It is all about the comfort levels.”
Before her daughter turned a year old, Franko moved to the suburbs and was desperately looking for a fitness venue that could provide her the same comfort. She couldn’t find anything.
After a decade in the finance business, Franko came up with a solution: open a FIT4MOM franchise in the suburbs.
“I was intrigued. And wanted a business that allows me to still be a mom,” says the mother of two young children. “I can even bring them along to work.”
“We also have weekly play groups,” Franko adds. “Right now we work out of gyms and indoor sports centers that are large enough to host us.”
Stroller Strides, a division of the bigger FIT4MOM program, was founded in 2001 by Lisa Druxman, after the birth of her baby. It has grown to more than 1,300 locations nationwide, and named one of Working Mom’s Top 25 companies. FIT4MOM also offers programs such as Fit4Baby, Stroller Barre, Body Back and Plum Mom’s Club.
No longer men only
Knockouts Haircuts for Men at 2959 Artesian Road, off Route 59, now is a full-service salon that caters to men, women and children.
“I see a lot of potential in the business, and love Naperville,” says owner Glen Gornan, who opened Killer Cuts on Oct. 15.
The space needed only minor remodeling and a new coat of paint to make it suitable for women, too. Gornan is exited to make use of the “massive wall space” by displaying the art of one local artist, Sally Sharp.
“It’s a gorgeous space, and I like staying in touch with the community this way,” he adds, always on the look-out for budding artists.
The 14-foot ceilings give the space a lofty feel.
“I wanted to give it the salon appeal without being too upscale,” Gornan says.
Men’s cuts cost $14, and women’s cuts, which include a hair wash, dry and style, are $30 and more.
“The stylists are truly artists with hair color,” he adds.
With six chairs and three washing stations, walk-ins are as welcome as appointments.
When asked what his approach is, Gornan answers: “Just give us a shot.”
Wine and art clink
Founded in Chicago in 2009 by artist Stephanie King-Myers, Bottle & Bottega swirls creative juices with a glass of wine for inspiration, catering to corporate events, women’s book clubs, or anything in between, and plans to open in Naperville next year.
“We look to be in downtown Naperville,” says co-owner Nancy Bigley, who brings franchise experience to the eclectic business. “We want to do different things, partner with restaurants and create a unique experience for our guests.”
Founder King-Myers says her business allows even beginners to create art while sipping on some wine.
“Our vision is for our guests to walk into our studios or our partner venues and feel like they’re having a party in their living room.”
Until Bottle & Bottega opens any of the other five Chicago-area locations, they will happily answer any requests and host parties at their other venues, including one in Glen Ellyn.
Know of a business coming to or leaving Naperville? Contact Daina Saleh at email@example.com.