did not simply open with the dream of lavish success. It opened with a goal of uniting residents, businesses and people who share its mission of promoting health and athleticism.
The store on Jefferson Avenue—it partners with many organizations to help those in need—celebrated its one-year anniversary Saturday with food, competitions and the support of several fitness centers in the area.
“We started as a clothing store, but our whole culture is to have an impact on our community,” explained Jasmine McAreavy, one of the managers of Lululemon. “We are involved with all the fitness studios ... We partner with the studios and highlight one of them every month.”
Lululemon makes technical athletic apparel for yoga, dancing, running and other "sweaty pursuits," according to its Web site. But it's more than just a clothing store. Every Saturday morning, the business invites an instructor from an often local fitness center, including CrossFit and the , to provide a place where residents can come try a new routine, free of charge.
“Lululemon supports any form of getting fit,” said Colleen Patrino, owner of the , an exercise studio in Naperville that features one-hour intense, full-body workouts. “(It) also supports being a part of the community and smaller business owners."
Patrino said the business model is a marriage that really works.
“They have the best workout clothing anywhere, but they are so much more than products,” Patrino said. “We have done huge fundraisers together for the community. It is the best example of a great business partner because together we can boost morale and the idea of fitness.”
Fundraisers among Lululemon and local companies and organizations have included raising money for Haiti, the Susan Komen Foundation and the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. An event supporting the Japanese effort is in the works.
“We also supported local families in need,” Patrino said. “We raised $8,000 for local families. At least once every other month, we do something for charity and Lululemon is always there to help us promote it.”
An interest in yoga is what brought Elise Hirschmann, of , into the shop a year ago when the business opened. But she said it's the store's cute styles and atmosphere that has kept her coming back.
“I enjoy the whole philosophy ... which is promoting health and fitness,” she said. “They have free classes here and when someone has the opportunity they can come in and (try the class and) they may get interested.”
Hirschmann said she also joined the running club that meets every Saturday at the store. Lululemon has not only provided a fitness outlet for her, but a social one as well.
The variety of free classes gives residents a place to try new programs like “thigh dancers,” a class at the Dailey Method, which ran a quick class during Saturday's anniversary party.
Jacob Packley, a recent graduate of and a new employee at Lululemon, tried the class and said he was shocked at how simple moves could bring results so quickly.
In addition to free classes, Packley said he wants to bring a upbeat attitude and a smile to his new job. He also hopes to make friends with the customers.
Lululemon’s “has a very friendly environment,” Hirschmann said.
“There is so much energy here. It is what makes you want to come back.”