It was a ‘really, really intense hobby’ that Alyssa Coogan turned into a business. First she taught pole dance and fitness classes out of her house to her friends for free. Now, she’s got a real studio and a business plan.
AK Inverted held their grand opening at the Yoga Path on Sunday night. Alyssa Coogan, AK Inverted owner, said that while she’s been offering pole fitness classes in various locations around Juneau, this is the first permanent state of the art studio in Juneau.
“This is definitely the first most stable and state of the art studio that Juneau has ever had,” Coogan said of the studio space, located inside of the Yoga Path in Lemon Creek.
The company started out as Pole Fitness and Dance in 2014, moving from private classes at Coogan’s house, to Suite 907, to Mountain Wellness studio downtown and finally to its new home in the Yoga Path. While Coogan originally used her own portable poles that she bought off Amazon in the various prior spaces, the new studio has a more permanent feel.
Coogan said all of the new equipment is top of the line from the United Kingdom.
“They design (the poles) to fit the measurements to the specific studio,” she said. “The industrial mounts are permanently installed and stay on the ceiling. But the poles themselves, you can just slide them into place and tighten them and take them down and store them to use the space for other things.”
About 20 people came to the grand opening, where Coogan taught a beginners’ crash course.
Tiffany Snowden, an attendee, said she signed up for classes before she’d even gotten to the grand opening and tried it. She said the Yoga Path is her favorite studio in town, and so she was excited to try a new offering at the studio.
“I need the core strength,” Snowden said. “I hurt my knee running this year, and so I started swimming. I do incorporate yoga into my practice, and this just is so enticing. Anything just to be upside-down I think is really healthful and playful, and I think that we’re sort of meant to be able to do that. I mean we used to get to climb trees, and we don’t get to do it anymore,” she said, adding that pole fitness was a way to be able to get a similar experience.
Coogan’s family owns Coogan Construction, and she said entrepreneurship runs in her family.
“It’s definitely in my family to be entrepreneurs, but I still am operating under my brand, because I really want this sense of camaraderie and a team athletic type of feel to be present, so people can do competitions down south and we can represent Alaska,” Coogan said.
But she said she is still working in conjunction with the Yoga Path. People who have memberships at the yoga studio can use it for pole dance classes, as well. Jodee Dixon, owner of the Yoga Path, said the partnership was really exciting.
“The space here has enough room for (Coogan) to have six poles and 10-foot ceilings, so there’s some good potential, and we just really worked well chatting and brainstorming together,” said Dixon.
“This is definitely a huge thing, for myself and this town,” said Coogan, who works full time as a counselor at AWARE, but wanted to continue teaching pole classes on the side.
“I hope that all stigma aside, people can really come to find how amazing pole fitness is and what it can do for your life,” she said. “It means more than anything to me to be able to share that with other people, and hopefully they can develop the same relationship with pole fitness that I was able to develop, where it’s kind of just a love for health and well-being and your body and yourself.”
• Contact reporter Mollie Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 523-2228.