Your Stories: Katy Richardson

Tis' the season for New Year's resolutions and one of the most popular is to get fit. One woman is helping local men and women do just that using a ballet barre.

"We work really hard to try to make the workout the best and to try to make our environment accepting to everyone. We don't want you to feel like you have to be a ballerina to come in here and workout," says Katy Richardson, owner of Neighborhood Barre.

Ballet is the foundation, but the workout also includes Pilates and yoga. This barre workout in particular was created by Katy Richardson. Katy grew up in a small town in Kentucky.

"My dad was actually on the team that discovered the connection that made Mammoth Cave the longest cave in the world," says Katy.

She loved the outdoors as a kid thanks to her dad.

"On the weekends he would take us caving and repelling so I actually repelled for the first time when I was three years old, just hanging out of a tree in the yard," says Katy.

In high school, Katy got serious about cheerleading and that took her to Samford for college.

"I cheered all through college, all four years I was there," says Katy.

But she was injured her senior year and that ended her cheerleading career.

"Injured my left shoulder blade and it compressed my ribs in on a nerve bundle and I had whiplash pretty bad after that so I was kind of done cheering," says Katy. "I was side lined on all aspects of being physically active for probably six months."

"I was becoming kind of grumpy," says Katy. That is until she found yoga. "I just fell in love with it. I was like this is it. This is what I needed because you get that outlet without any impact on your body," says Katy.

While Katy pursued a career in finance, she was on the road a lot, but that helped her branch out to other low-impact workouts like Pilates and Barre.

"I've always been a pretty independent person and always said I wanted to own my own business," says Katy. "I made the decision that if I could find the right type of place in the right type of town with the right demographics that I would quit my job and open a studio."

And she found that spot here in Knoxville, at Northshore Town Center, and opened Neighborhood Barre.

"I just said okay I'm going to sit down and write my own program. I'm going to take all the moves I know work," says Katy. "I'm going to apply it. I'm going to write the choreography, I'm going to set the timing for what I think it should be and then I'm just going to do it over and over again and work out the kinks."

And it worked. She writes the program and it gets results. Hundreds of people are now members at Neighborhood Barre.

Katy also met her husband, Brett, here in Knoxville, and they share an entrepreneurial spirit. He owns a liquor store next door.

"We talk about things that I don't think normal people talk about. Because we'll go to dinner and we'll talk about business and talk about plans and marketing and things like that," says Katy. "And I'm like, can we write this off? We just had a business meeting."

Katy Richardson spent her younger years cheering on others and now the community is cheering her on.

"People just really have embraced me, and supported me and believe in me and it's helped me believe in myself and continue to want to be better and better for them," says Katy.

One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.

Be on the lookout, Neighborhood Barre will soon have a pop-up studio in Western Plaza in Bearden.


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