Story of ​The Youngest Gym Owner in The USA

  • Photos by:
    Story Camiccia
  • Published on:
    February 11, 2019
  • Reading time by:
    6 minutes

My name is Story Camiccia, I am the founder and owner of Barre B, and at 21 years old I became the youngest gym owner in the country. 

I grew up in Lakewood, Colorado, a small suburb of Southwest Denver. As the oldest of five children, I was raised to expect nothing and appreciate everything. We wore second-hand clothes, cut coupons, and packed our lunches. My mother is a remarkable woman who taught me from a young age to find joy in work, whether that be gardening, cleaning, music lessons, or school projects. It was always made clear that I was responsible for my own success.  In a generation of coddled children, I was never praised for participation or trying my best. 

‘’Success is earned. No one is entitled to a quality of life just because they want it.’’ 

At the end of the day, I am no more special than any other person in this world and, as harsh as that may sound, I am truly grateful for carrying this mindset into the real world of business. 

My family and friends have always described me as “intense” and I can’t argue with them on that. Knowledge has always been very valuable to me and I take advantage of education anywhere I can. When presented with the opportunity to learn French and spend 3 months in West Africa, I took it. Spending that much time in a third world country at the impressionable age of 14 truly shaped how I viewed my place in this world. I wanted to help people in any way I could. 

While other kids wanted to be doctors or singers when they grew up, I just wanted to be “the boss.”

It didn’t matter to me what I was the boss of, I just wanted to be in charge. I graduated at 16 with a drive but, like so many girls, struggled with eating disorders that doctors predicted would kill me before my 18th birthday. Although I had researched nutrition in the past, this was the first time I took my physical and mental health seriously. It was no mystery why I was numbing myself and trying to shrink my body into nothing. Things had happened in my childhood that were out of my control, but this was not one of them. I had a decision: Label myself a victim and fade away, or take responsibility and get out.

I started studying personal training and nutrition and was shocked how almost no attention was given to the mental and emotional aspects of fitness. There was little difference between me having Diet Coke for lunch before running on a treadmill for hours and an overweight person paying a monthly membership to a gym they’re too scared to visit and eating a tub of ice cream at the end of a stressful day at work. Both are unhealthy relationships with food and exercise- rooted in anxiety, depression, and coping mechanisms that are keeping people from living their best lives. I wanted to help women like me.

I moved to Kauai at 17 and found Barre. I couldn’t believe that an hour of such small movements was SO effective. I fell in love with the class and started teaching. 

Flash-forward to Fall 2018. My husband and I were looking for a change of pace and decided on Southern Oregon. We arrived October 1st and I started looking for a job. The moment I realized there wasn’t a barre studio between Sacramento and Eugene, a nearly 500 mile gap, I knew I had to bring barre to the Rogue Valley. It had been a dream of mine to open my own studio but I had always come up with excuses as to why it was never the right time- I’m too young. I don’t have enough money. I haven’t been teaching for 20+ years like other studio owners. 

And then one afternoon, it hit me. I’m not a dreamer. 

I never have been. If I want to do something, I wake up and do it. So that’s exactly what I did. I started making phone calls on October 15th and opened Barre B on December 1st, just 6 weeks later. Everyone said I wouldn’t open on time. People who didn’t know me thought I was crazy. My friends and family, though, didn’t bat an eye, solidifying themselves as the most amazing support team a girl could ask for. 

 So far, we have gotten amazing responses from our members AKA- Barre Babes. Every day, the studio is filled with women supporting and encouraging each other to become their best selves.

 I plan on expanding the studio to a second location in the next couple years and continuing to deliver high quality classes to our high quality community.

My advice to young entrepreneurs

My advice to young entrepreneurs is to #1 be adaptable. So many things went wrong in those 6 weeks before opening day and I had the choice to panic or simply change plans. A failure is just a plot twist that teaches you something!  Keep the humble acknowledgement of your limitations greater than the pride of your accomplishments.  Ask for feedback and really listen. Wake up first. Go to bed last. And my personal favorite from the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey:

“You’re a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do.”

Xoxo- Story

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