Five days after Puyallup business owner Becky Reynolds got married, she was driving to work when she saw a fire truck and firefighters gathered right outside of her pilates studio.
“I came around the corner and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re right in front of my studio!’” Reynolds remembered. “There was that instant panic.”
Reynolds, up early the morning of July 29, 2016, was preparing for an early pilates class, and had seen something about a fire downtown through her Facebook feed.
But she didn’t think too much of it until she got to her studio on 204 S. Meridian.
There, she saw thick, dark smoke billowing from her studio windows. Smoke from a fire, which had sparked inside of The Forum pub next door, had spread to Inspired Movement Pilates, causing serious damage that would lead to the studio’s nine-month closure.
Standing outside her studio that day, Reynolds begged firefighters to go inside and retrieve two very important things: her marriage license, which she had planned to mail in that afternoon, and a photo of her best friend, who had passed away. Firefighters retrieved the items, but everything else — from the studio walls and ceiling to her equipment — was lost.
It was devastating.
Becky Reynolds, owner of Inspired Movement Pilates
“It was devastating,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds was in shock until her husband, Andrew, arrived and helped her contact clients and cancel classes.
It wasn’t until the following week that Reynolds could inspect the damage of the studio. Even then, she hoped that she would be back to work in a few weeks.
But that wasn’t the case, and month after month, the studio remained closed.
“It was really prosperous,” Reynolds said about her studio. “It was really, really busy. All of sudden that door slammed shut ... I started this studio with $8.63 (in my account). I worked so hard to make that work, and all of a sudden it was back to square one.”
It was really prosperous. It was really, really busy. All of sudden that door slammed shut... I started this studio with $8.63 (in my account). I worked so hard to make that work, and all of a sudden it was back to square one.
For a long time, there were a lot of unknowns about the fate of her studio. It was a process — an emotionally draining one — to work with the insurance company. But she knew she wanted to reopen the studio, and she didn’t give up.
Reynolds thanks her husband and her clients, who stuck right by her side, for getting her through those long nine months.
“I have amazing clients and the most amazing husband,” Reynolds said. “He’s a great cheerleader. We’re very fortunate to have a studio that comes together and supports each other through tough times.”
As a longtime client of Reynolds, Darleen Vernon often had lunch with her instructor during the studio closure to make sure she was doing okay.
“She was emailing all of us on a monthly basis or more to keep us updated,” Vernon said. “I emailed her and said, ‘Is there anything I can do?’ I could hardly wait to get going again.”
Reynolds’ clients had also thrown her a bridal shower party.
“It’s a testament to our relationship with her,” Vernon said. “We all really like her and respect her. She’s a dynamite teacher.”
In a way, the fire also proved just how well Reynolds and her husband worked as a unit. The couple often spent late nights at the studio, planning and repainting. Reynolds’ husband, who works at Boeing, often told her, “You cannot look back. You have to look forward.”
While the studio was closed, Reynolds found she was named King 5’s Best of Western Washington for Best Pilates Studio — and at the time, the one she owned wasn’t even open. It was another happy moment that kept her going.
“Some really good things have come out of this. Some really great relationships have come out of this,” Reynolds said.
Some really good things have come out of this. Some really great relationships have come out of this.
On May 1, the studio officially reopened, with a new paint job and new equipment. On May 20, Reynolds and her clients celebrated that reopening with a party, which benefited the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation, which donates to alternative therapy programs for wounded soldiers.
“I truly believe you can’t help yourself unless you help others,” Reynolds said.
Since Inspired Movement Pilates opened in 2011, Reynolds has been giving back to the community through holiday food drives and fundraisers. She hopes to start doing that again — and to get more energy and bodies into her studio than ever before.
“This is our clean slate — why not go for it?” Reynolds said.
For more information, visit imovepilates.com.