BY JEREMY SHERE
In 2008, local fitness expert Allison Chopra founded Urban Fitness Studio — a workout place specializing in personal training located downtown in the Graham Plaza. This past August, Chopra, ready to pursue new interests, sold the business to two young employees: trainers Anna Branam and Carly Dunnuck.
“It’s really exciting,” says Branam, 24, who graduated from the Indiana University School of Public Health in 2012 with a focus on fitness and began working as a trainer at Urban Fitness in 2013. “Carly and I had dreamed about the business one day being our own, and when Allison approached us we jumped at the chance.”
Like Branam, who rowed in high school (and at IU), Dunnuck, 25, was a high school athlete who studied fitness and nutrition at IU. The partners share a passion for helping clients improve their well-being through functional movement.
“We’re not big on exercise equipment because it doesn’t really relate to the sorts of things people do every day,” Dunnuck says. “It’s more about using your body weight and doing things like pushing, pulling, lunging, and squatting, as in how you squat to unload the dishwasher. And it’s about strengthening the mind-body connection.”
Although neither Branam nor Dunnuck has a business background, Chopra has confidence in her former employees.
“I wouldn’t have sold it to them if I didn’t think Anna and Carly were ready to take over,” she says. “When they were still working for me they were very active with creative ideas and showed they really cared about the business. They have the same sort of energy and enthusiasm I had when I started Urban Fitness.”
The new owners want to assure long-term clients that they plan to carry on Chopra’s legacy of innovative, personalized training. The biggest change, they say, is the recent move to a new, larger space at the corner of East Hillside Drive and South Henderson Street featuring three workout studios and private showers.
“It’s amazing to be working with my best friend and helping people in a space built specially for us,” says Dunnuck.