If there’s anything hotter than the weather in Phoenix, it’s one of the hottest new group fitness studios in the West. But for Serina Kappes, co-founder of In the RA Fitness, the process of turning a negative relationship with fitness into a positive one began in 2009 following years of struggling with her weight.
“About three years ago,” Kappes reveals, “I was really overweight — 234 pounds. And I was taking care of my sick dad. We got a nurse for my dad so I could go do something for myself for an hour. And so I found Zumba. And I was really good at it.”
Kappes was so enamored of the Colombian dance fitness program popularized in the 1990s that she vowed to one day teach a Zumba class of her own.
“My friends said, ‘You shouldn’t wait until you get to your goal weight. Start teaching it now! You can inspire a lot of people who are overweight.’ So I did,” she admits. “I got certified, and I was still a big girl at 218 pounds. But I started teaching right away. And I thought it would be nice to have a studio one day to help other people who looked like me and were struggling.”
With the unrelenting emotional and financial support of Sherin — Serina’s “life partner and business partner” — In the RA Fitness was opened in February 2012, just one year after Kappes’s father passed away.
Although she believes her father is still positively watching over her life today, the Phoenix fitness guru occasionally needs a little extra help from time to time. And that’s what led her to Intuit’s Small Business Big Wishes campaign.
“We are tucked into a parking lot,” Kappes explains in her wish entry, requesting a professional sign to replace the vinyl banner that presently hangs above the entrance to her studio. “This will help us be visible to the neighborhood, which will increase interest and revenue. Not only will we look legit and professional, but we’ll be able to be found at night (which is when the majority of classes are).”
While this Zumba instructor certainly isn’t afraid of working up a good sweat, having a quality sign isn’t something she has to sweat any longer. This week, Kappes’s wish was selected by Intuit and will be granted.
“When I put in for this wish,” the grateful recipient remembers, “I said, ‘Come on dad, help me get this.’ So I’m a little emotional right now. We couldn’t afford a sign before… I’m so excited. People can see us now!”
Do You Have a Small Business Wish?
Have a wish? It just may come true! During the month of December, Intuit will grant one wish a day for 15 days to deserving small businesses. Submit your wish online for a chance to win. Winners will be selected based on the number of votes each wish receives, the wish’s feasibility, and the transformational impact it would have on the business. To learn more, click here.