Danae Nelson

What began as a hobby I enjoyed in my free time, turned into a successful business I am able to run with my sister in my hometown in Venango County.

I grew up in the Franklin area and attended Rocky Grove, Christian Life Academy, and finished my schooling through home school. After graduation, I headed to Youth With A Mission in Montana, a missionary organization that allowed me to travel to China. After the six months I was away on mission work, I returned home.

My passion for Pilates and yoga started with some of my mom’s VHS tapes at home. I saw major results from trying this new form of exercise and loved it so much that I decided to look into getting certified. My grandmother lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I found a studio offering certification in that area, so I headed south for awhile while I completed the certification program.

I then decided to move back home to Pennsylvania, but quickly realized the opportunities related to Pilates and yoga were limited here at the time. There weren’t any local studios where I could gain experience and I was not to the point where I could open up my own just yet, so back to Florida I went.

During the four years I lived in Florida again, I worked at two different studios and even opened my own in-home studio for awhile. My sister, Anna, lived with me at the time and became interested in Pilates, so she got her certification, as well.

In 2009, Anna and I missed our family and our hometown and decided to bring our experience we gained in Florida back to Pennsylvania. Fortunately, at the time we moved back, a dance studio we had both danced at when we were younger was vacant and we saw an amazing opportunity. We were both certified and had similar goals, so we took the leap and signed the lease on the studio.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy—opening Impel Pilates took a great deal of dedication and we worked the hardest we had ever worked before. It was difficult at first, but it paid off significantly in the end. We slowly gained clients and at one point we questioned if we were ever going to succeed, but we’ve grown throughout the years and we’re now considering creating even more classes because of the demand.

At first we focused just on Pilates, then added yoga a short time later, and just four years ago we added hot yoga, which requires an additional certification. Pilates and yoga are on opposite sides of the spectrum, but at the same time they are complementary of each other and both require mind and body orientation.

Personally, I have absolutely loved settling down in Venango County. It is an amazing place to raise a family, in which my husband, Jim, and I recently had a daughter, Evelyn. I spend my free time playing tennis, enjoying a meal at Bella Cucina’s, bowling, running on the bike trails, and grabbing a coffee at Bossa Nova. Also, I love yoga and Pilates enough that sometimes I head to a Pilates studio in a nearby town, like Erie or Grove City, to attend classes.

Looking towards the future, I see Impel continuing to grow. We have gotten several requests for more class offerings and we hope to acquire more Pilates equipment and another part-time instructor. We plan to stay in the same location on Liberty Street in Franklin and continue to serve the community, which is easy to do with the relationships we’ve built and the sense of community here.