Members of a Jazzercise class

Members of a Jazzercise class

BUSINESS BEAT: All jazzed up about the fitness business

Greater Victoria Jazzercise franchisees enjoying success

About 13 years ago, Mandy Webb didn’t feel particularly healthy. She was in her mid-40s and wasn’t inspired to do much about her sense of well-being.

Out of the blue someone steered her in the direction of a Jazzercise class. Webb was energized.

“I fell in love with it,” she recalls. “Within a number of months I had a huge turnaround in my health.”

Before long she was considering becoming an instructor and investigating the business model for the trademarked exercise class. In 2003 the stars aligned and Webb became a certified instructor and Jazzercise franchise owner, with classes in Metchosin and Sooke.

Today she is one of seven Greater Victoria franchisees who run a total of nearly 40 classes a week, at 17 different locations. Jazzercise, which charges a $2,000 initial franchise fee, was rated fifth for 2013 on the top 10 list of low-cost franchises (under $50,000 in startup costs) by

“The company is solid; there’s tons of support,” Webb says of the California-based organization, whose network now extends to 32 countries.

“It’s up to the individual franchisee to put in the effort to make it successful. But if you are passionate and put in the commitment to make it work (it will).”

Vicki Waters, who trained Webb and is considered a pioneer in the business locally, got involved 26 years ago as an instructor. Today her classes attract upwards of 120 devotees to dance, laugh and sweat to upbeat music.

Waters, 58, taught part time while working a full-time job in a Langford lumber yard, but decided more than a dozen years ago to make Jazzercise her full-time career.

She wears various hats for her company, booking space and managing the business, but has no intention of giving up teaching classes.

“I could just manage it now, but for me, you’d have to get a hook and yank me out of there,” she says.

As for crossing paths with other local instructors, Waters says competition is good and there’s always room for more.

“When you’re one person and you’re the only one doing it, the bar isn’t always raised. You get up on your game when you’ve got somebody down the road doing the same program.”

For a list of class locations in Greater Victoria, visit and click on Find a Class.

French family operation opens in Trounce Alley

Sabine Colin and husband Marc Gachet, who recently moved to Victoria from the French Alps region, have opened a French and European import food shop in Trounce Alley called Délices de France.

Specializing in chocolate and delicacies such as foie gras, they are open daily at 616 Trounce Alley. Find them on Facebook at Délices de France Victoria.

Making a splash on Victoria water scene

Representatives from Splash Water for Life were on the Island last week wooing potential distributors for its atmospheric water harvesting systems. The water-cooler sized units, which create fresh, filtered water from air, have been sold directly on the mainland for the past six months or so and the company is looking at branching out and placing units in such locations as the University of Victoria, as well as commercial and home use. For more information, visit

New flow yoga studio opens in James Bay

Graeme and Natalie Wright have opened up their new James Bay yoga studio, One Yoga, at #201-239 Menzies St. Following up on last weekend’s grand opening, which featured a class with One Yoga founder Ryan Leier, the studio is offering free classes this week until Friday. Open every day, the studio teaches vinyasa, or flow yoga. Find them at

Names in the news on the business front

Changes are afoot at the Victoria Foundation board, as Rasool Rayani, co-founder of Metalogix Software, takes over as chair. James Darke and Ian Wong join as new directors, while Peter Malcolm and Steve McKerrell are finishing out their terms … Tookie Graham is filling in at Oak Bay Beach Hotel as e-newsletter writer for Jenilee Brack, who is on maternity leave.

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