Biz buzz // Two new fitness centers open in Southwest

For most of us, the onset of winter means the regrettable end of sun-warmed walks around lakes and bike rides.  

But this winter, Southwest residents exchanging sunscreen for gym memberships have two new options — Transformation Training in Fulton and Orangetheory Fitness in West Calhoun.

Transformation Training, 2313 W. 50th St., has actually been open since last December, but Josh Segal recently become sole owner of the studio and is tweaking the place to fit his integrative fitness ideal, with dual emphasis on exercise and nutrition.  

In both one-on-one and group sessions, Segal focuses on intense kettlebell exercises designed to get the heart rate up. The idea, he said, is to burn fat as efficiently as possible.

Kettlebell training is designed for people “looking for high-efficiency workouts as opposed to training four or five days a week,” he said.

One-on-one and group sessions are available with or without nutrition consultation and meal plans, but Segal believes all the exercise in the world is for naught in lieu of a proper diet.

He learned this lesson the hard way. Segal, 26, was a successful college golfer in California and had aspirations to turn pro, but severe tendonitis in his wrist and elbows derailed his career.

He consulted with 20 specialists over the course of a year and a half, but the pain still lingered. Finally, he experimented with cutting dairy and gluten out of his diet, and “my pain instantly went away,” Segal said.

“If I could suggest a couple straight-forward fixes to everyone’s meal plan, it would be cutting gluten out, cutting dairy out and avoiding sugars,” he added.

Asked whether he’ll again pursue a golf career now that he’s pain free, Segal said Transformation Training comes first and foremost.

“If given the opportunity [to play pro golf] again, I would do it, but I feel that my work here isn’t done,” he said.

To celebrate becoming sole owner of Transformation Training, Segal is planning a grand opening celebration for Dec. 3.

Transformation Training charges $200 for an unlimited-use monthly workout package. More information can be found at

Orangetheory Fitness, 352A W. Lake St. in Calhoun Village, also offers group exercise classes that focus on raising heart rates.

Using dumbbells, kettlebells and suspension straps, Orangetheory’s classes feature 10 to 30 minute interval workouts designed to stimulate the metabolism.

“The idea is that by boosting your metabolism, you can burn calories even after you finish the workout,” said Elizabeth Coddington, owner of the Minneapolis Orangetheory, the eleventh Orangetheory studio to open across the country.

Orangetheory charges $159 for 12 monthly sessions. More information can be found at


Now open: Contempl8 T-Shirts

KINGFIELD — After a decade printing at home, Contempl8 T-Shirts has finally gotten out of the house.

Owner Chris Loch now sells his shirts and screen prints out of a storefront at 4302 Nicollet Ave. S.

“Having been around for almost 10 years, I’ve wanted people to get to know about it a little bit,” Loch said. “Fifty percent of my business is local, and it’d be nice to be recognized as a core business in the city.”

Loch has made his mark by offering environmentally friendly screen printing services. He only uses water-based ink and relies on wind power for all of his electrical needs.

“Almost every other printer out there uses plastisol ink that has both PVC and phthalates in it,” he said. Using water-based ink “is a net plus for me and the environment and the people wearing the shirts.”

While he sells a couple of his own designs from his storefront, most of Loch’s business comes from printing shirts for others. One of his largest and highest profile clients is local indie rock group Cloud Cult.

“They go on tour with 20 boxes of shirts, come back and want some more,” he said.

Although he appreciates the publicity that clients that Cloud Cult provide, Loch said he’s primarily interested in promoting the cause of environmentally sensitive screen printing.

Using non-carcinogenic, sustainable methods “is what interests me,” Loch said. “I’m more interested in that than I am becoming the next millionaire.”

For more information, check out Contempl8 T-Shirts webpage at


Bankrupt: Uptown Drink

THE WEDGE — The popular Uptown bar, Drink, 1400 Lagoon Ave, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection according to court documents filed Oct. 27.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported Uptown Drink owes between $500,000–$1 million to fewer than 50 creditors. The bar owes $339,052 on a loan from a Minnetonka based company, Plaza 1 Inc., and other sums to a Golden Valley law firm, and a St. Paul based alcohol distributor.

A company called Uptown Drink, LLC. filed the court documents and appears to be unrelated to the Downtown Drink location.

Uptown Drink opened in 2005 and is known for its rooftop patio. It is a part of a chain of bars that originated in Iowa.

Phone calls to Drink regarding the bankruptcy were not returned.


Now open: Learning Designs

LINDEN HILLS — Karen Swanson and Jon Olson have teamed up to open a tutoring company at 2822 W. 43rd St.

Learning Designs offers one-on-one and group sessions focused on reading, writing, math, Spanish, early childhood development, academic testing and SAT/ACT test prep, among other subjects. Swanson and Olson plan to expand their company to offer tutoring in languages like Mandarin and age-specific group classes on topics like being a good grandparent.

“What Learning Designs becomes will demand on what people want,” Olson said.

Swanson serves as lead teacher. She has been tutoring for about two decades and has recently received testimonials from students she taught in the ’90s thanking her for helping them down the road toward becoming successful adults.

“I know I’m good at what I do, but I look at it as a gift,” she said, adding that she recently received an email from an old student who went on to become a nuclear physicist. “It really humbles me.”

Swanson and Olson are currently in the process of hiring licensed teachers in hopes of growing their company.  

Learning Designs standard tutoring rate is $60 per hour. For more information, check out


Now open: Artescape Studio

TANGLETOWN — Artescape Studio is now open at 5411 Nicollet Ave. S.

The studio provides aspiring artists with an affordable, cooperative workplace to hone their craft.

Among other amenities, the cozy 350 square-foot studio offers desks and drafting tables, storage, scanners, figure drawing sessions, group shows and open studio nights to guests and members artists.

A no-contract membership costs $80 per month — $50 for students. Artists can work at Artescape for a daily rate of $15, with a $5 discount for students.

Owner Beth Rapatz has an illustration degree from the Art Institute of Austin, Texas. Her husband, who she met while living in San Francisco, is from Minneapolis, and the couple recently decided to relocate here.

“I actually did miss the seasons,” Rapatz said.

She said that given space limitations, Artescape is ideal “for artists who do crafts requiring less space.” She recently turned Artescape into an artists’ cooperative.

For more information about Artescape, check out the studio’s website at



The seventh annual 50th & Xerxes shop and stroll event is taking place Nov. 19 and 20. On those days, 10 Fulton businesses — including City Chic, Gallery 360, Hunt & Gather, Loft Antiques, Nash Frame Design, Piccadilly Prairie, 75% Salvaged, The UPS Store, Vinaigrette and The Vintage Studio — will hold 20 percent off sales.

The Fusion bar and restaurant, 2919 Hennepin Ave. S. in the Wedge, has closed its doors and will reopen Nov. 14 as The Social House. Details about the reinvented bar and restaurant weren’t available as of press time, but The Social House’s website promises the place will be “the perfect location to see and be seen, providing intimate, four-star dining experiences with remarkable service.”

Ackberberg Group owner Stu Ackerberg confirmed that Bar Louie signed a lease for its first Minnesota location to open next spring in the first floor of the Mozaic building at Lagoon & Emerson in the Wedge. According to Bar Louie’s website, the bar and restaurant specializes in “oversized sandwiches and artfully concocted signature cocktails.” Ackerberg said his company will soon begin looking for a tenant for the second Mozaic restaurant space.  

Mike Munzenrider contributed to this report. Reach Aaron Rupar at [email protected]