Alumni opens new fitness center in Coralville

The following is a Q&A with Kirkwood Community College alumni Tara Huovinen, Class of 2013. She is the owner of HOTWORX in Coralville. 

Why did you choose to go to Kirkwood and what was your major? 

I took classes at Kirkwood before I became a mom but wasn’t able to finish. My eldest son was born with Craniosynostosis. I became a stay-at-home mom. I had three more sons during this time, the last ones being twins. Needless to say, I was busy.  I always knew I wanted to do more once the twins went to kindergarten (they are the youngest), and a four-year school was not in the plans for me.

 In one of my previous classes, a fellow classmate told me about Respiratory Therapists; this is what he was going to school for. I never heard of this profession at the time but was very interested in it.  I decided to become an RT. I had a great instructor. He made learning fun and interesting. For some reason, when he was teaching us about the lungs it just clicked with me. After that semester I went on to get all of my prerequisites done so I could start once the next session was being offered. I went on to become the class president for our graduation class. I made great memories and friends during this time.   

So why a Fitness-Infrared fitness studio? What was your inspiration to go in this direction? 

I was working at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City as an RT and loving my job. This was when the hospital was going through a lot of changes and cutting employees. Needless to say, I was cut. By this time, I was a single mom with four kids at home, so I wasn’t able to work over nights. This is when I started looking for something where I can help people and provide the upbeat and supportive atmosphere like I was used to at Mercy.  I was on Facebook one day when I saw an ad for a HOTWORX Franchise opportunity. I filled out the form immediately. This brought me back to my childhood when I would go into the sauna on the farm with my dad and cousins. I know the benefits of regular sauna use and an infrared sauna is even better Plus, I believe life begins outside of the comfort zone.  

 What made you decide on your current location? 

Finding the location was a challenge. I had so many suggestions from so many people. Which I understand, but it also has to make sense to what is best for the business. It has to be easily accessible from many locations and businesses. This is when I turned to my realtor Melissa Hodapp and my (now husband) Patrick McCoy. Between the two of them I was able to find a safe location with a high traffic count.  

 Have you ever thought about expanding and opening another place?

I keep going back and forth on expanding. At the time, Iowa’s sold out for expanding with HOTWORX. Meaning I would have to look at another state. The one state and city I was looking at already has a studio, but you never know. I will have 3 boys in college next year and one that may be relocating in a year so only time can tell.  

 If you were to return to Kirkwood and talk to a marketing class, what advice would you give them?

I would tell them to learn as much as they can in every situation and to never stop reaching for more. You never know what life is going to throw at you within the next six months. If a door closes on you means a new one is about to open and to reach for the stars when it does. 

Image courtesy of Jeff Sigmund | Kirkwood Communiqué

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