Fitness for new moms, pottery and an alcohol-free meeting place Local entrepreneurs bring us new ideas and creations

June 2023

Oakenfold Strength and Training

Jamie Oakenfold offers a personal training service dedicated to prenatal and postnatal fitness addressing the unique needs of new and soon-to-be moms.

“During Covid, when all gyms were shut down, I decided to pursue my pre and postnatal fitness certification. This made me realize that there isn’t really anything like that in Thunder Bay and that there was quite a large gap of support for women in this community”, said Jamie. Recognizing the lack of resources and support for new moms, Jamie was motivated to establish her business and collaborate with other specialists in the city. Together, they are building a network to provide comprehensive support to new moms, ensuring they have the guidance and resources necessary for their well-being. Jamie’s dedication to closing this support gap drives her every day, offering reassurance to women who may feel lost and unsure of how to prioritize their self-care.

Small group training sessions, both prenatal and postnatal, have become a space for women to bond and connect over shared experiences. Jamie remarks, “They all find out that they have so much in common that I think they only come to class to socialize, not workout!” The positive feedback and heartwarming stories she has received are a testament to the impact of her services. Every successful delivery, pain-free movement, new personal record, and pregnancy announcement is a cause for celebration and reinforces the importance of Jamie’s work.

As a new business, Jamie acknowledges the challenges of accessing resources and support. The help she received from another local business, Industrial Athletics, has been crucial to her success. Their collaboration allowed Jamie to expand her reach and effectively market her business, demonstrating the supportive and collaborative spirit that Thunder Bay is known for.

In addition to her workshops, Jamie’s upcoming Snatch Bootcamp, running throughout the summer on Tuesday nights at Hillcrest Park and Vickers Park and the introduction of new clothing apparel demonstrates a desire to expand her offerings and provide even more support to Thunder Bay moms.

By offering affordable workshops based on current fitness research, she introduces women to proper movement, educates them on the benefits of strength training during and after pregnancy, and empowers them to prioritize their own well-being.

Oakenfold Strength and Training exemplifies Thunder Bay’s commitment to promote healthy lifestyles, empower women and help new businesses thrive and contribute to the city’s vibrant fabric.

Keramiikka Maan Pottery

Erika Niva’s passion for ceramics was ignited during her high school years. Encouraged by her art teacher, she pursued her craft further and eventually majored in ceramics in the Fine Arts program at Lakehead University. Erika’s expertise in hand building and wheel-throwing led her to establish Keramiikka Maan, a business that showcases her distinctive handcrafted pottery. “When my art teacher in high school told me that she’d thought I’d found my medium, I ran with it.” said Erika.

Erika cherishes the connections she has formed through participating in various arts and culture events, particularly the bustling local markets. Recounting a heartwarming experience, Erika said, “During one sale I was sitting with a lady who had, at the previous sale, bought one of my sculptures. It was fun to see her again and to see what kind of work she offered as a vendor. It was nice to see another side of a person.”

In addition to her pottery business, Erika serves as the ceramicist at Lakeside Studio Cafe, further expanding her artistic reach. At Lakeside, Erika instructs workshops and courses, cares for ceramic works, and collaborates with fellow creatives. Erika emphasized, “Working at Lakeside allows me to constantly be learning and making while also witnessing the creativity brought into the space by others, and it’s very nice that I get to share mine with them as well.”

Erika values the strong support for the arts within Thunder Bay. This support not only fuels the artists but also enables them to bring more to the community.

Howl at the Moon

A unique dry bar catering to individuals who prefer non-alcoholic beverages is now open at 8 Cumberland Street South. Owner Jody Loos, a recovering alcoholic, says Howl at the Moon offers a safe space for socializing without the triggers of addiction.

When asked about his motivation in creating a dry bar, Jody opened up about his personal experience. “I’m a recovering alcoholic and I’ve spent my entire career working in bars and nightclubs”. Working in that environment allowed him to maintain a façade of functionality. However, witnessing the devastating consequences of addiction firsthand, made him realize the urgent need for change.

The concept of Howl at the Moon was born out of Jody’s observation that many of his friends who sought sobriety would eventually return to the bar scene, leading to relapse. Recognizing the value of a safe social space without alcohol and drugs, he aimed to create a space where individuals could mingle, network, sing karaoke, and enjoy live shows.

“There has been overwhelming community support for this project, for which I’m so grateful”, said Jody. Numerous individuals in recovery have approached him, expressing their gratitude. Additionally, those who have lost loved ones to addiction or have family members living in active addiction have also commended Jody for his initiative.

“For a long time, people in recovery had very few social options, leaving them feeling alone and excluded” said Jody. Howl at the Moon aims to change that.

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