The recent years, Memphis’ Medical District has attracted a host of new small businesses and entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on the flow of students, workers and patients that frequent the district or commute through it on their way to neighboring Downtown and Midtown.
Among those new businesses is boutique fitness studio Spincult
. Spincult offers pop-up classes such as yoga and kickboxing from guest instructors, but indoor cycling is their primary focus.
“Boutique fitness studios are stereotyped as fancy and stuck up, but that is not the environment at Spincult," said Ramie Mansberg Glick, one of the studio’s earliest customers.
“I hope we are an oasis for students and young professionals — a getaway," said Victoria Young, owner and founder of Spincult.
The studio offers 45-minute classes of high energy stationary cycling with intense intervals, strong bursts and resistance training. Riders are motivated with fast-paced music and passionate instructors while moving through simulations from flat roads to steep hills that offer recovery time alongside tests of endurance.
"During the bar exam, the only thing that kept me from thinking about studying was being on a bike," said Young of her own experiencing falling in love with cycling.
"That’s how I feel about our classes. It revives you," she continued. "You also have a sense of belonging because you are riding alongside somebody else who’s doing that hard and heart work for the benefit of [Memphis too]."
Opened in August 2018, the indoor fitness studio is located at 700 Madison Avenue.
Spincult offers memberships at $120 per month, class packs and drop-in prices. Student memberships include unlimited rides for $100 per month, and Medical District employees receive $10 off the monthly rate.
Spincult holds monthly free pop-up community rides, like the sunset spin at Beale Street Landing pictured here. (Spincult)
“The community that Spincult creates is incredibly unique," said Glick. "Every instructor knows my name and what is going on in my life, which makes a huge difference after a long day of studying or working in the hospital."
A native Memphian, Glick moved away to pursue her education. After graduating, she returned to attend medical school at UTHSC in the Medical District. She's now a third year medical student.
“When I was in Austin, Texas, I became obsessed with [indoor cycling], but when I moved to the Midtown-Downtown area, I was so sad that there was nothing here," said Glick. "The minute I read about Spincult opening in the Memphis Business Journal, I knew that it was a studio I wanted to be a part of if only for my own health reasons."
Spincult also partners with the Downtown Memphis Commission and Memphis River Parks Partnership to hold monthly pop-up community rides. The stationary bike classes are free and open to the public and have been hosted in the Medical District’s Health Sciences Park and Beale St. Landing. The most recent event was held in Germantown.
Private in-studio events are also held for organizations like the Junior League of Memphis, Choose901 and Teach901. The studio's grand opening event was a fundraiser that raised $700 for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, also located in the Medical District.
“We are constantly engaging ourselves and connecting with other like-minded organizations,” said Young of Spincult's sense of responsibility to the communities that surround it.
Founding a (Spin)Cult
After graduating from Whitehaven High School, Young attended Duke University with the goal of becoming a New York-based corporate attorney.
“When I left Memphis, I left with the deep conviction that I had done everything a graduating senior could have done,” said Young.
But after earning a masters in education in Los Angeles, she returned to Memphis to teach for one year at her high school alma mater and acquire her teaching credentials. In 2014 she committed to Memphis as the place she wanted to make her mark.
In the five years since, Young has been busy with a host of personal and professional progresses. She founded the college-prep nonprofit Visionaries, Inc. and ran for Memphis City Council. In spring of this year, she graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She sat for the state bar exam in July.
Developing Spincult was inspired by her stint in L.A. where she was impressed by the popularity of fitness boutiques with specialized workouts and curated settings.
“I decided I wanted to create the Memphis I want to live in. So what’s missing? For me, fitness is a big part of my life, and I missed being able to have that boutique experience,” said Young.
Spincult's grand opening in August 2019 was a fundraiser. All fees paid towards classes went to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, also located in the Medical District. (Spincult)
The Competitive Edge
After some deliberations she opted for a location in The Edge, part of the larger Medical District. While the area is flush with restaurants, shops and other small businesses, it lacked fitness options.
With an outline of a business model, she approached the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and Downtown Memphis Commission for help. They connected her to small developer incremental meetups and boot camps.
“I really fell in love with what the Medical District was doing. The Edge was kind of like the underdog, and I love the underdog,” said Young.
To help finance the endeavor, she sought a pre-development grant and signing incentive offered by the MMDC. The 1,500 square-foot space that would become Spincult was in need of a complete renovation.
“It was a mess. After I signed the lease, I said to myself, ‘What have I done?,'” Young said laughing. “But this is the area for it. We’re right next to Trolley Stop [Market]. This whole block in five years is going to look completely different. This area is going to hit,” said Young.
The space is now clean and modern and includes a mural by local artist Jamond Bullock.
Young's future plans for Spincult include rolling out an immersive fitness ride within the month. Winding through the streets of Memphis, the ride will feature virtual scenery and highlights of Memphis projected on a three-screen wall.
Stadium flooring is also in the works to tier the bikes for a better view.
"You walk in the door and are greeted by a huge mural by a local Memphis artist and people from all walks of life just trying to be healthy," said Glick. "[Young] and her team have done an incredible job building a community in the middle of the Edge."