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PIES Fitness Yoga Studio owners look to expand with Connect & Sip Cafe in Old Town

Do you take your yoga with coffee or tea?

By this summer, the Harold family of Alexandria want to add a third business in Old Town — Connect & Sip Cafe at 1320 Prince Street. The proposed cafe would be located next door to their PIES Fitness & Yoga Studio at 1322 Prince Street. If all goes well with the permitting process, they’d like to open up by mid-summer.

“The building is completely gutted right now,” owner Marsha D. Banks-Harold told ALXnow. “Our yoga studio is very unique and that we’re a community, so people come here, they sit before class and each other, check in on how everyone’s family is doing. We’re really about connecting and that’s where the wellness piece comes in. Especially post pandemic where people have been so isolated, it’s really an opportunity for people to come together sit down sip on a cup of tea, or a cup of coffee and really get to know their neighbors.”

The property is located on the corner of Prince Street and N. West Street, directly across the street from popular knitting shop fibre space (1319 Prince Street).

The cafe would sell coffee, tea, small plates of food, pastries and CBD products. The 2,100-square-foot property is envisioned to seat 50 people inside and 12 outside on a 600-square-foot area in the rear of the property. Their proposed operating hours during the week would be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Public comments on their special use permit application expire on May 4.

Last October, Banks-Harold, her husband Jefferey and son Gabriel reopened PIES Fitness & Yoga in Old Town. The move came after the family lost the least to their studio at 33 S. Pickett Street, which first opened in 2008. Also last year, the family launched a CBD business, Daydreamers Oasis, and started selling those products in the studio.

The problem with the new Old Town space, Marsha said, is that it lacked a waiting area for people to hang out before and after workouts, crushing the vibe fostered in the previous West End location.

“With the cafe, they’ll have a place to continue those conversations,” she said. “It gets a little crowded in the studio.”

Incidentally, Marsha and Jefferey are both full-time patent supervisors at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They got married in 1992 in Shiloh Baptist Church, which is about a block away from the building they now own in Old Town.

“This whole part of town has gone through gentrification,” Jefferey said. “Just for us to be able to get back into town and have a place here is special.”