For the past two years people in Cazenovia have wondered what would happen to the Albert’s Restaurant space after the community fixture — in business for 65 years — closed in 2011. For much of 2012 the building was covered in tarps and plastic as exterior renovation work was underway, making the suspense even stronger.
On Feb. 25, that suspense ended when the new Allure Fitness and Dance studio opened its doors to begin sign-ups for classes in Zumba, yoga, dance and about a dozen other offerings. On March 4, owner Patty Burritt and Allure manager Allison Burritt — who is also Patty’s daughter and one of the dance teachers at the studio — celebrated the new business’s soft opening.
And downtown visitors have been seeing men and women in workout clothes enter and leave the building constantly ever since.
“We’re very excited,” Patty said. “It’s been a long two years.”
Patty and her husband Mark bought Albert’s in 2011 after searching for about one year for place to build a dance studio in Cazenovia. “I was golfing with Mary Ryan at the country club one day and told her we were interested in looking for property and she said, ‘Why not Albert’s? It’s for sale.’ I said ‘Yes, that’s a good idea,” Patty said.
They bought the building, which had the restaurant on the ground floor and a small office on the second floor, but the rest of the second floor was empty and the third floor was in bad shape after a 1970 fire. They brought in a contractor and asked if it was possible to renovate the structure for a dance studio at street level and apartments on the second and third floors. “He said, ‘Anything’s possible,’ and, voila, here it is, two years later,” Patty said.
But it wasn’t that simple. There were open spaces in the roof and snow piled up on the third floor, the structure needed a lot of work and there was basically no electricity or plumbing on the top two floors, Patty said. They ended up gutting the entire building. “At one point you could see through to the basement,” Allison said.
One of the main reasons for opening a dance studio was to have a place that the Burritt’s two daughters, who have been dancers since age three and had recently graduated from college, could dance together whenever they were home in Cazenovia, and maybe, Patty said with a laugh, entice them to move home for good.
Allison, who recently graduated from Ithaca College with a master’s degree in communication and business, and also taught Zumba classes in Ithaca, said she got involved at first to help her mother out with the business. On a visit home to Cazenovia she met the man who is now her fiancée and that prompted her to decide to not only stay and help out, but also become the manager of the studio.
“Being a dancer my whole life [with a business degree], I thought it was a perfect fit,” Allison said.
The renovated building at 52-54 Albany St., now boasts four new two-bedroom apartments on the top two floors — with a new elevator for access — and two dance/fitness studios on the ground floor, each approximately 800 square feet. Both are typical dance studios with wood floors and mirrors spanning one entire wall, but they also contain a “floating dance floor” under the wood that cushions impact and is better for people’s knees and other joints, Allison said. There is a sound system in both studios, as well as a “floating ceiling” that absorbs the sound so it will not reach the apartments upstairs, she said.
The dance and fitness classes being offered at Allure are numerous: yoga, Zumba, pilates, kickboxing, IntenSati, Latin dance, jazz dance, hip hop dance and ballroom dancing. There are also dance classes for children and cheerleading classes, and a CPR training course. All the classes are run by the individual instructors who contract with the studio. They are all pay-as-you-go, with no registration (except for ballroom dancing) and no membership required to attend, Allison said.
Allure will not compete with other fitness businesses in town because it does not — and will not — have any workout machines and has no memberships, Patty said.
The schedule of classes at Allure will change each month, and they are open to suggestions from the community as to what other classes people might like to see offered, Allison said.
“It’s very fluid,” Patty said. “We’re just a rolling stone, sort of. We’ll see where it goes,” Patty said.
Allure Fitness and Dance offers classes Monday through Saturday, and all classes are for men and women. A full schedule and further information can be found on Allure’s Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Allure-Fitness-Dance/166335510177398. A website for the business is coming soon.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.