Barre – the popular form of group exercise which utilizes a ballet barre – has been a passion of Sara Kuhar’s. Now, she’s bringing that passion to Bay Shore.
Bayport’s Pure Barre exercise studio, located at 907 Montauk Highway, is owned by Kuhar, a mother to two young children. Raised in Bayport, Kuhar decided to own the fitness business after she was a dedicated Pure Barre client for many years. Since becoming the owner of the Bayport franchise in 2019, Kuhar has always had the intention of expanding. Her new Bay Shore location is scheduled to open in mid-July.
The Islip Bulletin and Suffolk County News spoke to Kuhar about her new expansion into Bay Shore and her commitment to what she loves.
IB: When and why did you decide to open the studio in Bayport?
Sara Kuhar: I did it because I love Pure Barre. I grew up in Bayport and graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School. After college, I moved to New York City and worked for a big accounting firm, and then I moved back to Long Island. Pure Barre was something I did as a client in the city, and I missed it, so I looked into the opportunity and one thing led to another. I saw that Pure Barre was going to open a studio in the Bayport area, so I said, “You know what, if someone is going to open one in my hometown, I want it to be me.” I really loved it so much, I wanted to make it my career.
IB: What type of background do you have in fitness and exercise?
S.K.: I have danced my whole life. I minored in dance in college; I majored in accounting and minored in dance. Right after college, I dove right into the accounting world, but after working for a little bit I realized I needed to exercise too, so that was when I found barre fitness. So, I wanted to make what I really love, what I did all the time.
IB: How did you handle the pandemic?
S.K.: We switched to doing classes virtually. We still offered classes throughout the day—we did one early morning, one mid-day, and one evening class. We had one teacher in the studio or at home, teaching the classes over Zoom. We tried to stay engaged that way, and through virtual events… We tried to do some classes outside, and really just tried to keep people motivated, even when they were at home.
IB: What kind of classes do you offer at your studio? What exactly do these types of exercises entail?
S.K.: We offer three formats of classes. We have our Pure Barre Classic Class, which is a low-impact, high-intensity workout class. This means that one or more of your feet are on the ground at all times. The Classic Class focuses on each major muscle group at a time, so you work your entire body. We also have a cardio barre class and a resistance-based training class. There is a ballet barre throughout the entire studio—it's used for stability and balance. It is considered a piece of equipment, just as much as weights.
IB: When and why did you decide to expand?
S.K.: That was always the plan. When I decided to open a Pure Barre Studio, I went in with the intention of opening two, because I was completely changing my career. I was going from accounting to a business owner. My mom grew up in Islip and I still have family and Islip, so I just felt really connected to this area of Long Island in general. So, I wanted to bring it to the South Shore of Long Island overall. That was always the plan, it just took me a long time to find a location.
IB: Why did you decide to put the new studio in Bay Shore?
S.K.: Pure Barre corporate does some research on their end, and they had Bay Shore specifically as the town that they felt was a good spot. But I looked with the real estate agent at many locations from Babylon to Islip.
IB: Will this studio be any different from the Bayport location? Will you be offering different types of classes?
S.K.: I am definitely going to take what I have learned from having a studio in Bayport and use it as my base for Bay Shore, but I am definitely going to get a feel and pull for what the clients in the area want. Like, what are their favorite times do they like to work out? What is their favorite format of class? What community events do they like? I’m definitely going to incorporate that.
IB: When are you expecting to open in the Bay Shore studio?
S.K.: I am aiming for mid-July. We are working with the town to check all the boxes we need to, so we are hoping and planning for mid-July. So, there will be a soft open in July and the first class is always free for anyone who wants to try it.
IB: How do you think Pure Barre will impact the community of Bay Shore? Do you think people will be open to trying such a unique method of exercise?
S.K.: I want to create a space that people want to come to and do a workout that they enjoy. We exercise to music, which creates a really fun energy, and it's my favorite way to exercise, so I just feel like when you find something that you love, you want to share it with people. So, my goal is to just bring something I love, and something I think other people will love, to the area. Then I get to meet people who share the same passion as me also, which is always fun. That creates a nice community within the studio as well.