Featured Entrepreneur – Jessie Thompson; The Yoga Loft
“Improving the quality of life by building a community in which all people have access to economic opportunity…”
This is the first part of Community Action’s mission statement, and one of the ways that we pursue this effort is by providing support to local small businesses – the backbone of our local economy. The Community Action Development Corporations of Allentown and Bethlehem and the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund – three of Community Action’s subsidiaries – provide resources and support to start-up businesses and business owners who have difficulty obtaining traditional loans.
We’ve worked with some incredibly motivated and passionate entrepreneurs. In doing so, we have helped to contribute diversity to the available goods and services, hundreds of jobs, and access to economic opportunity for people right here in the Valley. We are going to start highlighting some of our business owners here on the blog. You’ll hear a bit about their story and what their hard work and determination has contributed to our community.
First up is the Yoga Loft, right here in Bethlehem – opened in May of 2006 and owned by Jessie Thompson. The Yoga Loft received a $20,000 loan from the Rising Tide in 2010, with which they paid off a high interest line of credit from a traditional bank. The savings this provided enabled Jessie to expand programming and add administration hours to increase marketing efforts.
According to Jessie, “It was very encouraging to work with Community Action on this loan. As a sole proprietor things can get scary sometimes! The bank I was working with at the time was extremely discouraging. We made it through the slow economic times well, and the friendliness and support I received [from the Rising Tide] has meant a lot. It’s great to know they are right down the block for help and advice.”
The Yoga Loft currently employs 21 teachers, 8 desk staff, and 3 part time administrators – that’s 32 local jobs! Jessie’s goal for the Yoga Loft is to become a “force for greater health and happiness in our community.”
Be sure to check back for more featured entrepreneurs. Frequenting local small businesses supports not only that one business owner, but the vitality of our entire economy.
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521 E. Fourth St., 3rd Floor
(above Cantelmi’s Ace Hardware)
Bethlehem, PA, 18015
The Yoga Loft offers inspiring and challenging Yoga classes in the Lehigh Valley for students of all levels, as well as Gentle and Restorative Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Meditation classes. You can also enjoy Tai Chi, Pilates, Bellydance and Zumba classes.