Local Philanthropist Opens Barre at the Studio in Spokane Valley

Lori Ullman is a busy lady. With four young children and a philanthropy she runs to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis, she just opened Barre at the Studio in Spokane Valley. Because of Lori’s inspiring life she is the first person of interest in the Spokane Business Review series.

Spokane County is growing and is close to reaching 500,000 people. But have you ever noticed you always seem to hear the same names mentioned in conversation? One of those names is Lori Ullman­­. She is involved in numerous activities for all of her children, runs fundraisers for her sister Gina who has Cystic Fibrosis, and has worked at Donna’s School of Dance for 12 years, and just last March opened her own fitness studio, called Barre at the Studio.

I asked Lori a series of questions about her life and business and feel her story is a benchmark for what Spokane ­Business Review wants to bring notice to in our community. Here are her answers, I hope you enjoy!



Q: Please tell me about Barre at the Studio.

A: Here at Barre at the Studio we base everything with 3 core elements to Sculpt, Strengthen & Stretch. What’s all the hype about BARRE? First and most important, Barre is an amazing workout for ALL fitness level & EVERY body type! Barre is well known to be one of the FASTEST & most EFFECTIVE ways to get in shape. Not only is it a great & well-choreographed workout, class is FUN and upbeat set to today’s hottest music! This is a low-impact, HIGH-energy & very effective workout for anyone wanting to sculpt their bodies. This Total Body-Transforming class uses small, isolated movements to build strength, flexibility, and long, lean muscles (plus a tighter tush) as you work through targeted mindful muscle movements. Push yourself to the limit — and then find balance — as every hard worked muscled is followed by a deep, relaxing stretch.

While Barre has origins in dance, the rhythmically challenged shouldn’t worry~ No Tap shoes, leotards, or fancy footwork are required. You don’t need any dance experience-you’re not going to be doing pirouettes. Instead, our Barre classes follow a basic structure: We start with a Center Floor based warm-up full of planks and push-ups (modifications are always shown by instructors), do a killer series of arm exercises, and continue at the ballet Barre with a lower-body section to burn and shake your thighs and flutes. Finally, we finish with a series of core-focused moves and lengthen those hard working muscles with a much need stretch cool down.

As for gear, our class will incorporate some props into the workout routine, playground balls, resistance bands and light hand weights. For lower-body work, a soft exercise ball is used to help engage leg muscles. While most studios recommend wearing socks with sticky grips on the bottom, our studio is all hardwood floors so barefoot or studio wraps are best.

This workout is designed to provide a fitness enthusiast an incredible work out that is both fun and effective and promises to give you a dancer’s lean physique. Many celebrities, such as Madonna and Kelly Ripa, are huge Barre advocates, speaking to the effectiveness of results from Barre:

  • Small Movements = BIG Results
  • No dance experience is required
  • Burn approximately 300-600 calories in one class
  • Competitive pricing
  • 1st class is FREE


Q: How did you develop the concept for your studio?

A: Just in the last few years the demand for Barre classes has skyrocketed. Because of this recent surge in popularity, many think of Barre classes as the newest fad in the fitness world. However, in actuality, Barre classes have been helping men and women alike, Sculpt, Strengthen & Stretch for decades.

This method of exercise is far from new. In fact, it all started over 50 years ago, when in 1959 Lotte Berk opened up The Lotte Berk Method on Manchester Street in London. After suffering a back injury, Lotte Berk got the idea combining her ballet Barre training with rehabilitative therapy, and thus The Lotte Berk Method was born. In 1971 the method was introduced to the United States when Lydia Bach, one of Lotte’s students, opened The Lotte Berk Method in Manhattan.

Today, Barre studios and franchises are opening up at alarming rates… it seems that there is a Barre studio on every corner.  Barre at the Studio is locally owned and our Certified Barre™ Instructors put their own spin on every class. No two Barre Classes are ever the same so you will never be bored with a workout again.

Many become hooked due to this fun factor, and a result of their frequent Barre-going that they become slimmer, stronger and healthier. Barre classes are available for all levels and are usually customized to fit all fitness levels and body types. Barre at the Studio’s well trained Certified Barre™ Instructors will be able to work with all levels of fitness and ages.

To say the Barre trend has heated up in the last 10 years is an understatement. Barre has morphed from a class for dancer-types to become the workout of choice for fitness fiends everywhere—and studios are springing up in droves across the U.S. (and internationally).

Q: How is it different from other exercise programs?  

A: For someone who’s used to HIIT or Crossfit, you may think at first you’re not working hard enough but that’s absolutely not the case. In fact, you’re getting a killer workout because the one-inch isolated movements are enough to fire up the muscle and make it more elastic, but not too big to tear the muscle.

All of our Certified Barre™ Instructors are committed to a RESULT based teaching style that is encouraging, inspiring and FUN!  During class you will find your muscles will start to shake. When your body shakes, this means your muscles are reaching the point of fatigue, which means change! The “Shake” is a Good Thing!

Our goal is to have the muscle group we are targeting during a specific section of a class to shake every time. After you shake, we will stretch to lengthen the muscle while they are warm and flexible. This also leads to long, lean muscles that are tone and noticeable!

Q: What types of clientele do you serve?

A: This is the beauty of Barre, it for ALL fitness level & EVERY body type! Our clients vary from Ironman Athletes to clients recovering from injuries or surgeries. Some of our clients have replaced Barre with boring weekly physical therapy appointments and other take class in conjunction with other fitness training.  Barre is fast-paced, challenging and fun, but also suitable for anyone no matter their age.

Q: Can Barre improve the performance of other sports?

A: Absolutely! Barre is excellent supportive practices to do in conjunction with your other recreational sports. For example, Skiers & Snowboarders: enhanced knee alignment, improved balance & greater quad & hamstring strength. Golfers & Tennis Players: Greater hip openness & movement resulting in an improved swing Runners: Increased endurance, faster overall times & reduced impact on joints. With any sport Barre can definitely improve other actives you already practices by increasing endurance & total body strength.

Q: What would you like people to know about Barre that separates it from other workout programs?

A: We are locally owned and our prices are very competitive. All of our Certified Barre™ Instructors are committed to a RESULT based teaching style that is encouraging, inspiring and FUN!


Q: Where are you located?

A: Barre at the Studio is conveniently located at 11707 E Sprague Ave Suite B in the Spokane Valley. We are the Basement of the Valley Redwood Plaza near Hu Hot. Our 2 room hardwood studio is spacious at 1200 sq. feet and is equipped with complete ballet Barres, mats and accessories. Each class size consist of no more than 12 students maximum. Class sizes are limited in order to give proper attention to each student.

Q: What are your hours?

A: You can find your Happy Hour at Barre all week long:

  • Monday~7:15pm
  • Tuesday~9:30am & 7:15pm
  • Wednesday~6am,9:30pm & 7:15pm
  • Thursday~9:30pm & 7:15pm
  • Friday~6am
  • Saturday~8am

Q: How can we contact you?

A: You can reserve a spot by:



Q: Please talk about your sister Gina, and what she has had to go through with Cystic Fibrosis.

A: My sister Gina has been battling Cystic Fibrosis(CF) her whole life. Her health has deteriorated significantly over the last 2 years. She was in a desperate need of a double lung transplant, this is what the end of stage CF does to patient.  The life expectancy for someone with CF is 35, Gina is 31 years old.

Gina was married just a little over 3 years ago, shortly after their wedding she got very sick with pneumonia and it just continued to worsen. Her lung capacity was 13% and needed to be on oxygen 24/7 along with the bipap machine (oxygen mask) every night.


Gina’s insurance finally approved her to go to The University of Washington Medical Center but this journey is not only overwhelming physically but also financially challenging for Gina and her husband. With the cost of a transplant often exceeding $1,000,000 insurance will only cover some of this cost.

During the pre-transplant process Gina needed to travel to Seattle monthly until September 17th when she received that much needed double lung transplant. Since then she has had to relocate to Seattle for up to 6 months requiring her and her husband, John to leave their home in Spokane. These expenses have mounted very quickly with all the travel, lodging, co-pays & anti-rejection medication etc. Her expenses are estimated to be $40,000-$75,000 even after the insurance picks up some of the cost so we ran fundraising events to help with the cost.


You may not know Gina but she’s an amazing person, wife, daughter, sister…to many and friend…to ALL! It is a horrible nightmare to watch someone you love so deeply struggle with an end stage of a chronic illness. Not only is it hard to watch, we knew there was no way she could do this alone; physically, mentally, emotionally & financially.

So we did what anyone would do… and asked for help… that’s how a community is built. We asked for support through the following fundraising events:

Q: How did the events, awareness, and fundraising impact your sister?

A: Gina was too sick to attend or help with any events but words of encouragement impacted by helping her get through each day. To date we have raised over $50,000 which has taken a lot of strain off of Gina financially. We will continue to raise funds as needed and fight this battle that may last her lifetime.



Q: How have all of your activities impacted and/or influenced your children and home life?

A: Well, honestly most people would call it “Controlled Chaos” I feel it is more like “Uncontrolled Chaos”. Trying my best to run a business, take care of a sick sister all with 4 very active kids is a constant struggle but it’s a struggle I wouldn’t change. It is something that takes patience, determination, perseverance & occasional melt downs 🙂 Behind it all I have the most unbelievable helpful husband (also a business owner) that helps me keep it all together.

Q: Finally, do you have any words of advice for people in similar situations…

A: I have advice from each aspect:

From an Entrepreneur: Your dreams and goals are supposed to scare you. Sometime even scare you ALOT! This means you really want it, so put the “fears” and “what if” aside and go BIG!

From a Philanthropist: Your Friends, Family & community want to help. Sometimes you just need to ask for the help in order for them to know you need it.  Help can come in so many ways; maybe a meal, a donation, a hug, words of encouragement or just in some friendly company.

From a Mother: Worry Less and Love More! It’s our jobs as moms to worry, there will never be a day in our lives we as moms won’t worry. You know this much is true and you cannot change that but you can change the love. So love every moment you have the chance. I’m constantly repeating a little quote in my head; “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” (~Lao Tzu) So every chance you get be at peace and be in the moment, good or bad!

Written By:

Darcy Gillingham – Gillingham-Consulting: A Web Development & Internet Marketing Company

Lori Ullman – Barre at the Studio – Spokane Valley’s Best New Fitness Program


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Darcy Gillingham
Creator: Spokane Business Review “From the Feet on the Ground”
Owner: Gillingham-Consulting, A Web Development & Internet Marketing Company
Email: darcygillingham@gmail.com