There is no doubt that during lockdown a lot of people put on a few extra pounds. And now that the weather is warm, those same people are looking to shed the extra pounds. But how? Everything is still nowhere near back to normal, which means that people need to get more creative when it comes to working out. That’s where Megan Leith comes in.
Megan is the owner of barre[tend] Buffalo (bär/tend), where she is also an instructor. She’s also the owner/operator of the umbrella venture, The Hiraeth House, which is located at the 501-503 “Midway” on Delaware Avenue. That is where she is planning on operating an Airbnb (third floor), along with a holistic (in theory) center.
Megan told me that she acquired the building, along with a number of other properties, when her father passed away. One of the other Allentown buildings in the portfolio had a bar, which she considered operating for a hot minute. But as destiny would have it, she pivoted into a different type of “barre” business that was much healthier for her, and her customers. Hence the name “barre[tend] Buffalo.”
“There were a lot of commercial properties that I didn’t know what to do with,” Megan explained. “This Midway building is where my father lived. I’m creating seven rooms for holistic practitioners. I already have a massage therapist, and would like to lease spaces to an acupuncturist, an aesthetician, someone that does lashes, or any number of creative new concepts. I know that the pandemic displaced a lot of these types of businesses, so I wanted to create a place where people could stay at the Airbnb, experience these holistic services, and get fit at barre[tend] Buffalo, all within one building. There are seven spaces that I am looking to fill. Yoga would also be a good fit.”
I asked Megan what prompted her to start the barre[tend] Buffalo element of the project, and she told me that, “Being a runner, I decided to try yoga to get limber, but was frustrated with the classes. That’s why I decided to try barre. The first couple of times that I tried barre classes I hated them – I saw that former dancers excelled at the classes and were getting ahead. After a few classes – I bought a package – I began to appreciate the form of strength training, which I found very different.
“Barre is a great way to manage stress, while improving your strength and balance. At the same time, I wanted to be able to share what I was learning with others, like me, who were looking for an exercise routine that was more forgiving, while offering modifications for everyone. At this point, I have four other instructors at barre[tend] Buffalo, all of whom will help people to ‘… find your balance at the barre.'”
Along with barre, Megan and her instructors are also offering a variety of other classes, including mini trampoline, sound baths, hula hoop, circuit, and there’s even a stroller barre for new moms looking to get fit. Of course she is awaiting the arrival of Phase 4 (NYS guidelines) to host the classes in the building – until then she is holding her classes outdoors, in local park settings, while abiding by CDC protocols. The next outdoor sessions start in July.
Once the center is open, Megan plans on hosting conferences and workshops pertaining to holistic practices. She will also have a beer and wine bar, where people can unwind at the end of the day, and get a wholesome snack. Her tavern license will also come in handy for bachelorette parties, mom’s groups, or any other celebratory gatherings at the space. All of this, and more, will be offered up at The Hiraeth House, which will one day be a welcome health and wellness destination in “Midtown Buffalo.”
“The word Hiraeth is the longing or grief for a house that’s no longer a home,” Megan told me. “It’s a tribute to my father’s memory. This will be a place of spiritual healing and positive energy.”
^ Photos by Sara Bridgeman