The Maple Valley and Kent Stroller Strides franchise was nominated among the top three in the nation.
Owned by Kristy Fassio, a Kent resident, Stroller Strides provides a full body fitness body program for moms with their young children in tow in their strollers. The program first started in San Diego and is nationwide.
Fassio fits the “I’m not just the owner, I’m also a client” concept.
She first got involved with Stroller Strides by enrolling in the program after the birth of her three month old daughter in 2007.
“I was a brand new mom,” she said. “I weighed 300 pounds, so the thought of getting out of the house by myself with an infant, going to a fitness group of people I didn’t know was terrifying. But I needed to get out of the house. I needed to make a change.”
Fassio later bought the Maple Valley franchise after its owner said she needed to sell it. Fassio she she knew it was the right choice when her husband preemptively approved the idea.
“He said, ‘Great when are we buying it,’” Fassio said. “He knew what it meant to our family. I had lost 75 pounds. It really was just that day. It wasn’t anything I had ever thought of, and I didn’t want to start one by myself, but when she presented it to me, I jumped right on it.”
Though she didn’t make any changes, Fassio said she encouraged its growth by adding classes and programs, such as “Body Back,” a more intense eight-week session without strollers.
Along with its family-friendly environment, Fassio said it helps mothers connect with other young mothers and their children, all while emphasizing personal health.
“I used to be a kindgertaen teacher,” she said. “It’s nice to bring in songs and games and toys ands props, especially when we go indoors during the winter. It almost becomes a preschool. The kids really encourage moms to be active with their kids. The kids are in the stroller, but they’re still very much a part of the class. I love the bigger classes to see the moms get to know each other and start inviting them over to the birthday parties and the communities that grow out of it.”
Stroller Stride also appeals to new mothers who, like herself, are uncertain about their parenting.
“It can be scary,” she said. “As a mom there are so many decisions that you aren’t sure of. It’s been my goal for it to be a safe place for everyone. I want Maple Valley moms to know we’re there. That is my ultimate goal.”