Ashley Schroeder had a vision for a community wellness space in Central Wisconsin. After spending many years working in the wellness industry nationwide, she saw a need for improving well-being in her home state of Wisconsin.
In January 2022, The Garden Wellness opened its first location in Plover with the goal of connecting individuals, businesses and organizations to a variety of wellness opportunities through classes, workshops and retreats. The programming and offerings at The Garden Wellness adhere to the six dimensions set by the National Wellness Institute: social, intellectual, occupational, physical, emotional and spiritual.
Ashley partners with other wellness professionals in the community to provide offerings to fill multiple needs. The Garden also offers worksite wellness packages for business and organizations providing a multi-dimensional and cohesive approach that is employee centric.
She understands that every individual has different needs and struggles. The Garden meets people where they are currently and offers transformation through physical activities as well as journaling and one-on-one or group coaching. The Life Loft is a private space available on-site to meet coaches or simply to enjoy silence and solitude without interruption. Programs can also be done off-site to create ease for participation.
All classes, workshops, retreats and events focus on a holistic approach to wellness that allows individuals to thrive. The physicality classes provide low-impact movements to cater to all fitness levels while nourishing the mind, body and soul.
The wellness programs are the cornerstone offerings of the business. Organizations come here to build morale and strengthen working relationships. “Feeling connected to others and building strong teams has become an even bigger need since the occurrence of the COVID pandemic,” Ashley said.
When Ashley needed a solid business plan to start her business, she found a “team” of her own in the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “I attended the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP), and it was a game changer!” Ashley said. “I could not have gotten through the anxiety and the feelings of being overwhelmed without the help of the course leader, Melissa Meschke. And Mark Spiers, a consultant at the SBDC, was so helpful with updating our financial projections.”
One of the obstacles Ashley overcame was simply getting the community to understand what her business does. First, she collaborated to host classes at local businesses before she had her own space, then she invited local female entrepreneurs to sell products at her business, and she also became a brand ambassador with the Portage County Business Council to help network locally. She has spent countless hours volunteering her time in the community and connecting with others to grow the brand. She still sometimes encounters the misconception that The Garden is only a boutique fitness studio. “It is really a space to celebrate individuals and the community. We love to host charity fundraisers and company outings and other local area events. Our one-on-one sessions with health and wellness coaches help facilitate self-management strategies for making positive behavior changes and reaching individual goals,” Ashley explained.
As the business grows, Ashley hopes to expand statewide, so she can serve different communities in addition to those in Central Wisconsin. “Most important to me is to continue to build strong community relationships with others, so we can provide the best programming possible!” Ashley said.
Accomplishments with UW-Stevens Point SBDC
- Entrepreneurial Training Program
- Financial projections
- Business plan