Yoga startup turning up the heat in the Slip

Suzanne Burns is opening a new yoga studio in Shockoe Slip. Photo by Michael Thompson.

Suzanne Burns is opening a new yoga studio in Shockoe Slip. Photo by Michael Thompson.

Suzanne Burns says she likes yoga and number crunching.

With her new startup gym business in Shockoe Slip, the Richmond native will have a chance to stretch both those fitness and business muscles.

Burns plans to open Humble Haven Yoga later this year in the renovated Powers-Taylor building at 13 S. 13th St.

Humble Haven has leased about 1,800 square feet on the building’s first level and will offer hot yoga every day. Class temperatures will range between 85 and 95 degrees.

“With temperatures starting at 85 degrees, it’s not beyond the point of a mid-June day,” she said. “I want the studio to be an answer to everybody’s interests.”

Burns, 29, grew up in the West End and went to J.R. Tucker High School. For the past seven years she has worked in digital advertising in Northern Virginia, while also teaching yoga on the side. She eventually made yoga her full-time job working at a studio but found herself missing parts of her previous career.

“I really kind of missed that business aspect of my day-to-day,” she said.

Humble Havens is taking space in the redeveloped building's first floor. Photo courtesy of Humble Havens.

Humble Haven is taking space in the redeveloped building’s first floor. Photo courtesy of Humble Havens.

In launching her own yoga business, Burns looked to Richmond after she was encouraged by what she described as the city’s renewed emphasis on culture and the arts. A family friend who works in commercial real estate pointed her toward the building on South 13th Street, which is being rehabbed by a group that includes Yogi Singh of local real estate firm Capital Square Holdings.

Renovations on the building were completed in September, and anchor tenant financial firm 1607 Capital Partners has already set up shop there. About 8,000 square feet is still available for lease.

“It was a unique space,” Burns said. “I was always looking in the downtown area.”

Burns said there are few, if any, formal hot yoga studios within Richmond’s city limits. There are others beyond it, though, including Hot House Yoga locations in Henrico and Midlothian and Willow Lawn’s The Hot Yoga Barre. Closer by, just across the cobblestones of East Cary Street and sans heat is Shockoe Slip Yoga.
Burns said new studios help the yoga market grow.

“More studios mean more people doing yoga,” she said.

Burns said she is financing most of the startup costs for Humble Haven on her own. She would not say how much she’s spending on the venture. She’s also planning a $5,000 Kickstarter campaign this month. Burns said investors she met with encouraged her to try the online crowdfunding site.

Classes at Humble Haven will cost $18 and run about an hour. Discounted memberships will also be available through the end of January. Unlimited classes will cost about $100 a month.

The space will have changing rooms and showers, as well as a retail component that sells yoga gear and eventually locally made jewelry.

“This time next year I hope to have more than 30 classes a week and that every class is full,” Burns said.

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Sara Williamson

Congrats Suzanne!!!