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Women-Owned Businesses in Muskegon Continue to Thrive

Many of these businesses are delivering innovative approaches to health and wellness.

By Karen Vernon on April 28, 2023

Rootdown in Muskegon’s first heated vinyasa yoga studio with a fresh juice bar.
Pedaling Pictures

The Muskegon Lakeshore is home to more than 330 women-owned firms, including many with a health and wellness focus, offering innovative approaches to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Kelsey Sanders is a health and wellness entrepreneur. Her business, ThriveWell, provides customized wellness solutions to individuals and small businesses.

“I want to educate, motivate and empower others to do small things to better their health and wellness,” Sanders says. “And not just in the physical and nutritional spheres, but in the mental, social and emotional realms, too.”

Working to Empower Others

Kelsey Sanders with ThriveWell

Kelsey Sanders

Sanders, who holds certifications in health coaching, behavior change, personal training, nutrition, fitness and group exercise, says she likes to use all of those skills to build custom services for businesses and individuals based on their goals.

“There is no one-size-fits-all,” she says. “And there’s no magic pill. Good old-fashioned hard work, dedication and mental fortitude are what helps you achieve health and wellness goals, which is why I focus a lot on small habit change.”

Sanders says when she works with clients, she treats them as individuals.

“With me, they’ll be treated like a friend, not a patient,” she says. “I want to help individuals and organizations figure out how to make small changes to bring everything together in a way that feels healthier and more productive for them.”

Investing in Health in Muskegon

ThriveWell’s target clients are small, local businesses with five to 100 employees, looking to invest in their employees’ health and wellness.

“I believe employers can do their employees a huge favor by offering them ways to better their health and wellness at work, whether it’s an educational session on how to eat better on a budget, how to move more when you don’t have time to exercise or how to cut back stress,” Sanders says. “Or it’s a free group exercise class once a week, or a quarterly challenge that gets people moving and learning with a prize at the end.”

For individual clients, Sanders serves those who are sincerely looking to change their lifestyle and habits for the long haul.

“I’m not a ‘Lose five pounds in five days’ trainer,” she says. “I’m a longterm, habit-change professional. I’m looking for clients ready to make a commitment to change.”

Rootdown’s ship yoga on the USS LST-393 in Muskegon

Putting Down Roots

Another health and wellness entrepreneur, Kelly Seyferth, worked with her husband to open Rootdown, Muskegon’s first heated vinyasa yoga studio with a fresh juice bar, in a renovated space downtown about eight years ago.

“We came to this with a passion for providing fitness and nutrition in one location,” says Seyferth, a certified yoga instructor who relocated here from Colorado. “I had such a great yoga community out there, and I wanted to bring that here.”

In those early days, she began by simply introducing yoga to a community where it had not had a big presence.

“I started doing free classes twice a week in the parking lot of the nearby farmers market,” she says, which helped her build her clientele once the studio opened.

The juice bar opened a few months later. “I really wanted the combination of yoga and healthy foods,” Seyferth says. “I created this as a vibrant, uplifting environment where people from throughout the community can come together to improve their health.”

In early 2023, Rootdown introduced a new, completely organic menu for the juice bar, led by a chef who is a Muskegon native.

“We’re keeping all the most popular items, but also bringing on new things,” says Seyferth, noting that everyone can enjoy the juice bar, whether they are a yoga client or not, and can take advantage of a new online ordering system.

Connecting With Community

Community outreach remains central to Rootdown’s mission, such as the donation-based classes offered weekly during the summer on the USS LST-393, a retired World War II naval ship in downtown Muskegon. The classes draw up to 200 people from across the state, and proceeds are donated back to local nonprofits and the ship’s veterans’ museum.

“There’s so much satisfaction in being a part of this community, helping people feel good and transform their health through fitness,” Seyferth says.

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