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Friday, January 18, 2019

Meet The Donelans: Q & A with the new owners of Barre3

By Jessie Eden 

Highlands High School Sweethearts Jake and Jessica Donelan are the new owners of the Barre3 fitness studio located at Highland Plaza (90 Alexandria Pike in Fort Thomas, Kentucky). The couple is excited to dive into business ownership and serve the community they know and love so much.

The Donelans, who began dating in high school, have been married for 11 years. During that time, they often discussed the possibility of owning a business together. “Throughout our relationship--dating and marriage--we have always talked about how it would be fun to own a business together. We never really had any 'aha' moment to start our own company until Barre3 came along. It's really just something that felt like the right thing for us to do.”  

The couple has always been physically active. Jake played football and baseball growing up, and went on to play baseball at Thomas More College until an injury ended his collegiate career. After that, Jake coached football and baseball as a volunteer at Highlands while finishing college. After college, Jessica and Jake teamed up to coach the Highlands Varsity softball team from 2008 to 2012.

As an instructor at Barre3, fitness has continued to be a large part of Jessica’s life. Throughout this process, Jessica also realized that she wanted to be more than an instructor - she wanted to own a studio. “I have been an instructor at Barre3 Fort Thomas for more than two years. I have dreamed of owning my own studio for most of that time,” said Jessica. “It just so happened that the timing was right for us to own our own studio and Bianca was ready to sell.”  

When the chance to purchase the studio presented itself, Jessica and Jake jumped on it. “We're both lifelong residents of Fort Thomas. Our ties to this community run deep,” said Jake. “Being successful as business owners in a city we love so much is an inspiration in itself as well.”

Through Barre3, Jake noticed a strong, positive transformation in Jessica from the beginning. “From the start you could just tell how much doing Barre3 changed her--both physically and mentally. She was stronger in both ways. She exuded greater confidence," said Jake. “To be honest, I wouldn't say that owning a barre3 studio was ever really on my radar. However, I wasn't very surprised when Jessica came to me almost two years ago and said, 'I would like us to seriously consider owning our own studio.'"

Below, you’ll find our Q & A with The Donelans. Be sure to keep an eye out for their Grand Re-Opening in March (Date TBD).

In the meantime, Jake and Jessica invite readers to keep an eye out for several Barre3 pop-up classes around town this year. They also have two new client specials; 3 classes for $30 and/or 2 weeks unlimited for $49. (LINK: )


FTM: What types of additions, changes, improvements will current members (or new members) see?

     Jake: Ultimately, we really hope that clients and members don't notice many really significant changes. Barre3 as a greater organization has worked hard to ensure that the product that's delivered to clients at each location fits within their brand -- 'Balanced in body. Empowered from within.' No matter who the owners are that's the ultimate goal. I will say, from my perspective something that will be noticeable is that a male will be in the studio. I like to believe that in our marriage we will support one another in every adventure we take on and this is no different. Right now we're kind of trying to take things in stride as we adjust to life as business owners. As we get more and more comfortable, I'm confident the current and prospective clients of barre3 will enjoy what's to come.

     Jessica: I want to echo what Jake said, and it's what we said when we announced the change of ownership to current clients - things at the studio will mostly remain business as usual. As the new owner, I have some ideas of some subtle things that I would like to do to "make it my own". This statement, ironically, is something that we say to clients nearly every time they take a class. As far as changes in the studio -- in 2019, as a brand, Barre3 is really looking to redefine what success in fitness means. This mission is one of the reasons I fell in love with barre3 in the first place. Instead of exercising to radically change your body, the barre3 class is designed to help you radically love your body, just as it is. You are already enough, and you are your own best teacher. The ultimate goal is to be balanced in your body, and empowered from within. Practice it inside the studio walls, and hopefully you'll take it outside with you when you leave.

FTM: What inspired you to pursue ownership of the studio?

     Jessica: Barre3 is like no other workout I have ever done before. I spent my entire life as an athlete. Gymnastics, dance, softball, volleyball, basketball, the list goes on. I was always a "go hard or go home" type of an exerciser. I've run the Flying Pig Half Marathon twice as an adult, both times before I found Barre3. I would not trade that experience for anything (#bucketlist), but I am so glad that I have found a way to move my body in a meaningful way that doesn't cause me pain (and blisters). I hope that by owning this studio, and setting an example of positive body image for my two daughters, they will grow up and feel at home in their bodies, like I do now.

     Jake: Jessica has been my inspiration. Again, I have seen how Barre3 has molded her throughout the two-plus years she's been an instructor. Her passion to have an even deeper impact on the clients of Barre3 Fort Thomas has been a big inspiration to me.

FTM: What do you want FTM readers to take away from this change?

     Jake: I want them to know that Barre3 Fort Thomas is now owned by two lifelong Fort Thomas residents who are committed to bringing the unique style of fitness to the entire Fort Thomas community. We not only are business owners but residents.  So we want what's best for the community.

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