Pure Barre founder opening studio in Wash Park under new brand

Life Smart by Carrie Dorr is an online wellness guide for women. (Screenshot)

After a hiatus into the world of online fitness, the founder of Pure Barre is pirouetting her way back to a Denver studio.

Carrie Dorr, who founded Pure Barre in 2001, expects to open a brick-and-mortar location for Life Smart — her new health and fitness brand — this summer in 1,600 square feet at the northwest corner of Mississippi Avenue and Pearl Street, in the Wash Park neighborhood.

The location will offer nutrition and personal growth sessions alongside fitness classes.

“It’s going to be something that’s a bit newer to the industry,” Dorr said. “It’s a natural progression for me to take what I was learning and pass it on.”

Carrie Dorr is opening a new studio in Denver. (Carrie Dorr)

Dorr started teaching fitness classes when she was 18. She worked as a professional choreographer, went to law school and worked as an attorney before deciding to focus on fitness and eventually founding Pure Barre.

As the chain expanded — Pure Barre now has more than 500 locations — Dorr said she realized she wasn’t enjoying being mired in legal and HR work. She brought on private equity before selling Pure Barre in 2012. California-based Xponential Fitness acquired the brand in 2018.

Dorr started Life Smart a year ago as a website, giving customers access to her 40-minute workouts, nutrition plans and other resources.

“To be honest, I hadn’t planned on opening a physical location again,” Dorr said. “I’ve done brick and mortars for a very long time and was ready to be done with brick and mortars.”

But while Dorr enjoyed the flexibility of the online model, she felt like her customers needed an in-person option as well.

“I felt like the online business really needed a home,” she said. “It needed a place where it could be touched and felt. I feel like this is the culmination of everything I’ve ever learned or created myself.”

At Life Smart’s new location, Dorr’s fitness classes will be held in the morning. The rest of the day, Life Smart will hold one-hour nutrition workshops on a range of topics from aging supplements to how to eat dairy. Dorr also plans to provide classes for children focusing on mindfulness, along with other mental health or personal growth workshops.

“To me, you’ve got to have it all,” Door said. “You can’t have just a great workout.”

The space also will hold her production and filming studio for the online portion of her business.

Dorr self-funded her newest venture. She also invests in other early-growth, female-founded companies, including an athleisure footwear startup and superfood cafe in Atlanta, she said.

Correction: This story originally misstated how long Dorr has run Life Smart as a website.

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