Where most see a broken motor home, Shannon Somogyi saw a business opportunity.
This spring, Somogyi Mobile is launching Om Yoga & Wellness, a yoga studio and retail store in a restored ’90s RV.
The idea was born about three years ago when Somogyi, who has taught yoga in studios across town, including Project Yoga Richmond and Studio D Yoga, thought of opening his own studio. When she struggled to find a place, she finally decided to go mobile, which is what she’s used to.
“My grandfather, who raised me, was a truck driver and I spent many of my younger days driving with him,” said Somogyi. “(Mobile Om) is something of a return to my roots.”
When she first found the RV – a 1990 Fleetwood Pace Arrow – it was infested with snakes, mice and other vermin.
“We rescued it from a junkyard she’s been in for about 12 years. We gutted it down to the frame, rebuilt the engine and got new tires and brakes, ”said Somogyi.
She said she spent tens of thousands rebuilding the RV, affectionately named Jolene, a tribute to Dolly Parton’s 1973 hit.
“I grew up with old school country and Dolly Parton was always my favorite,” said Somogyi.
Now the Mobile Om has cork floors, wood paneling and a functioning kitchenette. She said the RV can accommodate anywhere from five to ten people depending on the type of class.
Somogyi plans to take the RV to festivals, events, breweries and office parks in the Richmond area starting this spring and summer. The plan is to be in town most evenings of the week and she said there is a canopy that folds out for a small retail area selling locally made goods like Beez Nuts Balms and Burn Down For What Candles sold.
Somogyi, whose husband Evan owns the local smoking chain Kulture, said Jolene made her maiden voyage on a limited scale last year.
“Last year was a gentle opening, we thought, ‘Just let them go out on the street and see how the engine runs,'” said Somogyi. “This year is like the re-release.”
Tuition is $ 18. Discount packages are also available.
In addition to teaching traditional yoga, Somogyi is a certified yoga therapist and teaches certain types of yoga such as injury rehabilitation and addiction recovery.
While Somogyi prepares to take to the streets this summer, another local entrepreneur is set to open a stationary yoga studio. Katie Santoro plans to open lung yoga in Forest Hill.