It’s not what you think.
Haylee Lacroix and Brittanny Allen, owners of Sarnia’s first pole dancing studio, want to put all preconceptions to bed.
Yes, there are a few professional strippers who attend classes at Chrome 45 Pole Fitness to improve their technique and add to their pole tricks, Lacroix said. But most students work more regular jobs.
“Most who come here are looking for some conditioning, to have fun and meet others with the confidence to pull this off,” she said.
“We get a huge number of women who work in the plants as pipefitters or in IT. They want to improve their strength, do something a little feminine, a little sexy,” said Allen.
Allen and Lacroix, both 25, met while attending St. Patrick’s High School and were 19 when Lacroix talked Allen into attending their first pole class at a private home in Sarnia.
“It’s always intrigued me,” said Lacroix. “I look at a pole and I don’t think stripper. I think of the sport elements.
“It’s also girly and takes a lot of confidence.”
When Allen left Sarnia to study at the University of Waterloo she found a pole dance studio there and continued taking classes.
“At first, I thought going to a studio was a scary thing but I really didn’t have to worry,” she said.
“It turns out to be a very comfortable community.”
When Allen returned to Sarnia and began work as a law clerk, Lacroix was on her second maternity leave from her job at a local bank.
“We were hanging out and Brittanny said, ‘What am I going to do with my life when I’m not at work?’” Lacroix recalled. “I said I had a crazy idea to start the first pole dancing studio in Sarnia.”
They didn’t rush into it but spent time refining a business plan with help from the owner of the pole fitness studio Allen attended in Waterloo, as well as Lambton College instructor John Milos, who Lacroix met when she was president of the college’s award-winning Enactus program.
“Having our business plan critiqued really helped with the logistics of opening Chrome 45. We wanted to get it right from the beginning,” said Allen. “Along the way, we learned we had vastly underestimated our marketing.
“And we learned about forecasting so we could anticipate the slow periods and the busy ones,” said Lacroix.
Chrome 45 opened in downtown Sarnia last fall in renovated space at 187 Christina St. The studio has ten 13-foot competition standard poles, a mirrored wall and a great sound system.
“Our students are healthy women who are ambitious, determined, open-minded and not afraid to work hard and leave sweating,” said Lacroix. “Most have never tried it before.”
A six-class introductory course offered one hour a week costs $130. It includes learning technique, pole jargon and easy moves like a dip step, a pirouette and a fireman’s spin.
Drop-in classes are $15 each.
Both owners are certified by the Canadian Pole Fitness Association and teach 13 classes each week.
Chrome 45 at 187 Christina St. North is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Call 519-330-3479 or visit chrome45.ca.
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