There are many unique and interesting businesses that call Ferndale home, from retailers and restaurants to art galleries and even businesses you might not have known existed in your own backyard.
Patch will regularly feature these Ferndale businesses to learn about their roots, plans for the future and more. Find more business Q&As here.
Today, we chat with Jessica Reynolds, owner of Pole Addiction in Ferndale. Pole Addiction, which has been in business for seven years and located at 3023 Hilton for almost three years, teaches women pole dancing and aerial dancing.
Despite the often negative connotations, Reynolds says pole dancing is just a "fun, fabulous form of exercise."
"After seven years people in Michigan still have a negative feeling about what we do," she said. "We teach strippers, teachers, lawyers, insurance agents, doctors, students and mothers."
Here's what else Reynolds had to say in a recent Q&A with Patch.
How did your business get started?
In 2005 I was up late watching the "Best Damn Sports Show" and Tom Arnold was being taught how to pole dance by crunch instructors. I immediately got on the Internet looking for pole classes in Michigan. The only thing I could find was Crunch Gym in California. Not long after that I saw Shelia Kelly on Oprah and I got back on the Internet and found her book as well as a home party plan out of British Columbia. I bought the home party plan and started training at home. The pole that came with the plan fell through my living room window and my best friends went flying and I thought NO WAY. We then starting looking at places to teach with permanent poles.
At that time I started writing everything down which eventually became my business manual which I sell to this day. I give credit to Katie Coats at Vertical Dance in the UK as she was building her online business at the same time. This was before youtube. So she would send a photo and a description. I would test it and then offer input back. So it only makes sense that I help women from Michigan to New Zealand to South Africa get starting on their own journey into the pole dancing business.
We started in Port Huron. Everyone was traveling from all parts of Michigan. With a map and tracking all of the zip codes we finally decided to go where the business was coming from. Ferndale was in the center of our universe and we knew we needed to be in Ferndale. I still live in Port Huron and drive 54 minutes to get to my studio, instructors and students. My dream come true studio, finally came true in 2011 after two other successful locations in Ferndale. The first on West 9 mile, the second on East 9 mile and now our new home on Hilton.
Why did you choose this type of business?
I do not like to exercise. This was a great way to have a exercise program that catered to women so we could get in our workout while laughing and learning to empower women at the same time. This was a new creative and fun way to build upper body strength and meet all kinds of women from all walks of life.
What was the hardest part of becoming a small business owner? The best part?
The hardest part was the type of business and helping the world get used to the Pole. We have to re-educate people daily that pole dancing is a fun, fabulous form of exercise. After 7 years people in Michigan still have a negative feeling about what we do. We teach strippers, teachers, lawyers, insurance agents, doctors, students and mothers.
The best part is when I get a letter from someone telling me I changed their life whether it being their health or their personality. Also the growth of the company and now being able to offer aerial dance and circus arts. Performance art is a huge part of the art world. We are part of that and that is a wonderful feeling when our group gets to entertain at shows or put on our own showcases.
What are some of the things you offer or something about your business that people might not know about?
We offer aerial dancing. Many people still see us as Pole Addiction. They still see us as the pole dancers. It would be nice to see pole dancers hired to perform at events and the fact that we offer Aerial Dance also adds the ability to open our demographic to men, women and children. We have portable devises and riggers that allows us to teach in homes safely, schools and to perform for many different types of events. Our instructors and some of our students are now performers. We now teach to help people reach their goals. If they want to do it recreationally, competitively or become performers we are available to help them reach their goal.
Why did you choose Ferndale?
It is the center of the Universe. At least in our world, we say Ferndale is the center of our universe and I would not want to be anywhere else.
What's your favorite thing about being part of the Ferndale business community?
The DDA. I also have another business in a mainstreet area and it doesn't hold a candle to Ferndale. The people, community, businesses and government all work together to help Ferndale remain fabulous. I have seen many changes over the last 7 years and the DDA and the Ferndale community continue to grow. I hope someday the DDA will also cover our area and spread throughout Ferndale, not just 9 mile.
What's next for you/your business?
Growing this location to be able to offer classes on a regular basis to children whether that is on the road or in the building right next door. We also have a project that unfortunately I can't speak of but I already reached my goal of my dream studio. Now I have a new dream and hopefully in 2013 I will get to see that dream come true as well.
Do you have any advice for people who want to start a small business in the area?
Join the DDA. Get involved with the other businesses they all support each other and network together. Even if you are not in the downtown area there are still things you can do to be part of Ferndale.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
Come to the studio and say hello if you see we are open. We are only open during classes and Flight Club. If you can get in to see try a class. Try a drop-in. You can forever say you ran away and joined the circus for a day!