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Body & Brain reopens after more than two years thanks to local business support organizations

Cindy Park wanted to make West Linn a healthier community by supporting residents' physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Fifteen years ago she began doing just that when she opened her own franchise, Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi, in the Cascade Summit Shopping Center on Salamo Road.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardized her ability to connect with community members through yoga and tai chi as lockdown restrictions forced the studio to close.

Thanks to the diligent work of Park, the West Linn Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Oswego and West Linn Business Recovery Center, the studio reopened at a new location this summer and continues promoting health and well-being.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and Park could no longer operate Body & Brain, her income diminished, making it nearly impossible for her to afford rent. Despite working with a lawyer and applying for a loan through the Small Business Association, Park lost the studio space in Cascade Summit.

In the face of these challenges, Park continued to teach yoga and tai chi by setting up online classes for the 20% of her customers who maintained their membership during lockdown.

Though she had no idea how to conduct online classes in the beginning, Park is now glad she learned because many members still prefer online yoga even now that the new studio has opened.

Park eventually found help to reopen the studio when one of her members, Kim Bria, who also happened to be a member of the West Linn Chamber of Commerce, mentioned Park's situation at a chamber meeting.

Shatrine Krake, director of both the West Linn Chamber of Commerce and Lake Oswego and West Linn Business Recovery Center, soon paid Park a visit. Park called Krake her "angel."

"She really helped me out and I survived," Park said.

Krake, the chamber and business recovery center got to work, helping Park find and apply for grants that might provide some financial relief.

Park said that because she is not a native English speaker, Krake was a tremendous help with applying for the grants

"It was stressful," Park said. "If you make one mistake with the language barrier (when filling out the grant or loan application) then it delays months and months. I couldn't afford for it to delay."

In addition to the grant applications, Krake also helped Park search for a new studio location. Krake said this was so challenging, she thought Park would have to relocate to Lake Oswego.

After a year and half of searching, they found a new home for Brain & Body at the site of a former nail salon in a shopping center on Highway 43. Park was pleased because the rent of the new location was much more affordable than the space on Salamo Road.

But their work wasn't done yet. The new site needed to be remodeled from a nail salon to a space suitable for a yoga studio.

Eventually, after the necessary work permits were obtained thanks to help from the chamber and business recovery center, the remodel was complete.

Last month, more than two years since Park's original West Linn studio shut down for the pandemic, she, Krake, the chamber, the business recovery center and local elected officials celebrated the opening of the new Brain & Body Yoga and Tai Chi.

"(Park) is a true small business warrior who fought through this pandemic, utilizing her life savings to reopen her small business once again," Krake said.

Body & Brain is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.

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