The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce will award SPARK45 Small Business of the Year honors at their annual Community Awards Banquet on Jan. 26. CVN caught up with SPARK45 owner Danielle Bordenave to learn more about her path to success.

Describe what you do in one sentence.

I work with people to improve their health, mobility and overall wellness through fitness, physical therapy and personal training.  

Do you have an area of expertise?

I specialize in outpatient orthopedics treating a variety of injuries from post-operative knee, hip and shoulder to more non-operative injuries of the spine. In addition, I work with individuals with balance challenges and vertigo.

What was your path to starting this business?

My path to SPARK45 started long before I realized it, and has been a great adventure.  When I started off as a physical therapist (PT), I never planned to even be a manager let alone open my own business. I actually stated, “I don’t ever want to manage a PT office. I want to work with people.”  I started working as a PT in 2005 in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation center in Southern Illinois.

I became a health and wellness coach as I realized I wanted to do more than just treat individuals with injuries. I started making exercise a priority in my life taking classes four or five times a week at a local “Barre” studio.  I even auditioned to become an instructor (I did not make the cut). In 2012, I started attending leadership trainings that were based out of Ojai. This is when I discovered and fell in love with Carpinteria. In 2014, I realized it was time for a BIG change so I decided to leave my job, and leave Chicago and move to Carpinteria to start my own business.  

My vision for that business was a space to provide fitness, physical therapy, seminars and workshops to help people live their best lives possible. After arriving in Carpinteria, I took three months off to settle in and also see what I really wanted to create. I decided against opening my own business as I was overwhelmed about the task of accepting billing/insurance. I started working part time as a physical therapist and realized I really did want to create my own business. During these first few months in California, I had discovered a new workout that I also really enjoyed. I decided the workout, Lagree Fitness was a great compliment to physical therapy.

The workout is high intensity and low impact completed on a Megaformer. I was passionate about both so I decided to go for it and open SPARK45. I opened in February, 2016 on Maple Avenue with four megaformers. I was teaching classes in the morning and evening while seeing PT clients in between classes. From 2016 to 2018, I expanded from 600 square feet to 2,200 square feet at our current location in Lavender Court.  SPARK45 now has 10 megaformers and 10 indoor cycle bikes for fitness classes. SPARK45 also now has two physical therapists providing 45-minute individualized sessions.  

Why do you do what you do?  

I love what I do. I love working with people, connecting with them and listening to see how we can work together to improve the current situation. I enjoy making a difference in my life and theirs.

What’s the best part of owning a Carpinteria business?

The best part of owning a small business in Carpinteria is getting to know so many people in the community. I have met so many people, many of which I now call my friends.  I also love that I can walk from my house, to SPARK45, to lunch and to the beach.   

What would you tell people who are thinking of opening a business in Carpinteria?

For anyone opening a business here or elsewhere, I think the first key is getting clear about what you want to create and why. I am passionate about fitness, physical therapy and living a healthy active life. Once you have that figured, I think the best start to start getting connected in the community. I did this by joining the Chamber before opening and setting up a local bank account. The other important thing to do in order to avoid challenges later is to go to City Hall before signing any leases on spaces to make sure your business is allowed in the space you want. Also, here in Carpinteria, the City will give you lots of good ideas, resources and tips to make everything run smoothly from the start. 

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