Eleanor Margulies has always been on the move.
“I’ve alway been a semi-athlete,” the 32-year-old said.
Whether it’s hiking, running, golfing, snowboarding or surfing, Margulies has tried it and loved it.
Now she’s helping others be more active, as well. This summer she opened Flex Movement Lab in Ferndale.
“I think it provides the platform for people to connect back to their bodies and to their dreams in a way that really lets them live life to the fullest,” Margulies said.
The gym offers yoga classes using weights to build strength and fitness, as well as other classes that help people develop the strength and recover from or reduce the risk of injury for their other activities or daily lives.
She has big plans for her rapidly growing business. Her ultimate goal is to expand into multiple locations, in cities around the country.
As a first-time business owner, she faced some big challenges getting Flex Movement Lab open.
“It’s like personal development on steroids,” she said. “Whether you grow or fail, it’s 100 percent based on you. There aren’t any politics to blame.”
But starting a business wasn’t her first major life hurdle, nor was it her first experience with personal development.
Margulies was born and raised in Ferndale. Then when she was 19 she moved to Seattle to enter a drug rehabilitation program. Ever since, she has worked to help other people overcome the obstacles in their lives.
“If a little girl from little old Ferndale can beat a meth addiction — if I can do it anyone can do it,” she said.
After she completed treatment, she was a sponsor for other recovering addicts, even letting some of them stay at her home while they got back on their feet.
She also found success in finance in Seattle. She worked her way up to managing a Wells Fargo branch. She was making big money, and at age 25, was able to purchase a home in Seattle.
“It meant nothing to me. I had lived for so long with this chip on my shoulder that I wasn’t going to be a waste of space because of my past,” she said. “I just put my head down and I worked for so hard for so long and then I got there, and I just looked around.”
Something was missing.
She left Wells Fargo. Eventually she moved back home to Ferndale.
She had also started doing clubbell yoga, and fell in love with the activity. She got inspired to fulfill her dream of opening her own business, maybe even a gym.Then a space became available in Ferndale.
“Eventually it just became very, very clear that that was the way I was to go,” she said.
Flex Movement Lab opened its doors in May, and found almost immediate success, nearly doubling in size every month. Now she’s using her business success to do more good for the community.
“I always wanted to go into business because it would be the modality or vehicle for doing the most amount of good for the most people that I could,” she said.
Flex Movement Lab donates to local nonprofits, and holds fundraisers, including one to support firefighters, and an upcoming fundraiser for breast cancer awareness.
She also plans to continue the work she did in Seattle helping recovering addicts.
She has an idea to start a scholarship program (“turning mess ups into step ups,” as she calls it) to help someone re-entering society get an education in personal training, and also allow them to intern at the gym.
“Don’t count an addict short, because once they get it, there is nothing stopping them,” she said. “They’ve already known what hell looks like.”
Margulies said she just wants to give back, after everything she has gotten out of life.
“I’m just so grateful for the life that I’ve had,” she said. She tried to keep tabs on her old friends, from the crowd she hung out with when she was using drugs. Many of them are now dead.
“I’m so grateful that wasn’t me,” she said. “I certainly believe that there is a reason why I was extended so much grace and I am determined to give it back and leave my mark on this world.”