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When most of us think of fitness, we focus on the body. But the wellness of our minds and the strength of our relationships to our communities play a big role in our overall health. Nathan Williams and Brit Guerin will integrate all three components in Current Wellness, a center for physical and mental health in southeast Raleigh that’s set to open early next year.
“There is a lot of fitness that is concentrated on your body and there is a lot of pressure put on people to be fit,” Guerin says. “It’s also important to treat ourselves well mentally as well as physically.”
Current Wellness will offer a movement studio, a teaching kitchen for food education and a co-working space for counselors as well as other wellness practitioners.
“We’re calling it a movement studio intentionally,” Guerin says. “We don’t want to be like some of the things that mainstream fitness promotes. We won’t apply pressure to body image and body size. We’re not going to have mirrors. It’s about healing and being supportive to our bodies. It’s more similar to a yoga studio, but we’ll also offer functional fitness.”
Williams co-owns the company with his wife Brit, who has a background in fitness and mental health counseling. Together, they hope to establish a place for the community to come together and simply feel good.
“We live in southeast Raleigh and we really love the community, from newcomers to people who have lived in southeast Raleigh their whole lives,” Williams says. “We’re trying to make a business that’s inclusive for all of those people in that part of town, which is underserved for wellness services. Wellness is something that everybody needs and creates a connection between newcomers.”
Uplifting with Upfit
Brit and Nathan were able to bring their business to southeast Raleigh with the help of the city’s Building Upfit Grant, created to help small businesses and commercial property owners with improvements, renovations or additions to the interior of their commercial property. The program’s goal is to support a thriving and equitable economy through a strong small business ecosystem and investment in economic development priority areas.
Rafael Baptista, a strategic planning analyst for the city of Raleigh, says the grant is an important part of the city’s strategy for achieving long term, equitable economic development.
“Some of the desired outcomes of the grant include activating vacant properties in Raleigh, helping small businesses grow and expand and fostering small business investment in our economic development areas,” Baptista says. “The city is constantly assessing its small business support program to ensure that we are providing the appropriate incentives to small businesses.”
To date, 49 Raleigh businesses have received the Building Upfit Grant since its inception in 2016, representing a diverse set of industries and areas in the city.
For Williams and Guerin, they aren’t just opening a business—they’re joining a community.
“This is a vibrant community with really rich cultural history that has, at times, been overlooked,” Williams says. “Until recently, people haven’t treated southeast Raleigh as a destination. There have been people living here for years that know how great it is.”
While the brick and mortar component to Current Wellness isn’t yet complete, Brit and Nathan are already active nearby with pop-ups at Transfer Co. Food Hall, Dorothea Dix Park and Moore Square. They’ve held everything from a yoga and strength training class to demonstrations on how to cook healthy, local seafood from the Carolina coast.
“We want to engage with the community and collaborate with our neighbors,” Williams says. “We want to let people know what we’re about. From a bird’s eye view, people might not understand what we are, but we feel like we’re very different. As part of growth in an area that’s being gentrified, we’re being very conscious and we don’t want to be another business that pushes people out.”
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