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Midtown Pilates - From Painful Trial to Business Success

Lacy Arant, Owner, Midtown Pilates in Starkville, Miss.

Midtown Pilates - From Painful Trial to Business Success

Sometimes trials can turn out to be blessings in disguise. This is precisely what happened for Lacy Arant, the founder and owner of Midtown Pilates in Starkville, Miss.


During her senior year in high school, Arant suffered a serious back injury, which led to her gaining a significant amount of weight. She learned about Pilates — a system of exercises designed to improve physical strength, flexibility and posture while enhancing mental awareness — and decided to give it a try.


Arant quickly started losing weight and regaining her physical health. “It was the first time I could move without pain in a long time,” she says. “I quickly developed a passion for Pilates and for working on the method with other people.”


No Studio? No Problem


But there was one big problem: There were no Pilates studios in Starkville, where Arant had enrolled at Mississippi State University. So in 2010, Arant decided to move to New York City, where she trained under world-renowned Pilates instructors at the Pilates Academy International.


In just a few months, Arant became a master instructor, trained on all Pilates apparatuses. She moved back to Starkville and started teaching Pilates privately in a small space in town while also attending college. After leaving Starkville for one year for an internship, Arant moved back to open her own studio, Midtown Pilates, in late 2012.


Arant, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs, says it’s really all she has ever known. “While I didn’t have any formal business background or experience before opening the studio, I surrounded myself with family members and friends who had the experience and could offer guidance,” she explains. “And being in a small town has helped tremendously. I’m certain we wouldn’t have had the success we’ve had without our community buying into our vision.”


Besides knowing the town well after having attended Mississippi State University, Arant chose Starkville as the location for her studio because she says she has a heart to serve the community. “The people here are very health-conscious and they latched onto Pilates quickly,” she says. “The Starkville community has come alongside the business and supported us every step of the way.”


Building a Strong Team


One of Arant’s challenges when she opened Midtown Pilates was building a strong team. “Learning how to work with people is one of the biggest challenges of owning a business. We’ve put so much effort into building our team, and I am so grateful for every single one of them,” she says of her staff that includes eight other Pilates instructors as well as operations and support staff. “I’m just a small part of a big operation. I couldn’t do this on my own.”


Arant says she also receives strong support from Cadence Bank. About three years ago, she transferred her business banking relationship to Cadence Bank after growing frustrated with the accessibility of her previous bank. “A friend told me that she texts back and forth with her Cadence banker and I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “But it’s true. My Cadence banker, Matt Matthews, is very responsive to all my requests.”


Arant has been so pleased with Cadence Bank that she and her husband recently transferred all of their personal banking business to Cadence as well. “It’s hard to find the kind of bank support that we’ve gotten from Cadence Bank and I don’t take it for granted,” she says. “Cadence has faith in me and I feel supported by them. And they’re far more accessible than any bank I’ve ever worked with.”


Growth and Expansion


Arant has expanded Midtown Pilates four times since the studio first opened, including the most recent expansion that doubled the studio’s square footage. “We’ve also developed a new heart-rate monitored method that fuses Pilates strength training, rebounding and state-of-the-art treadmills specifically made for a low-impact cardio experience. It’s high-intensity but low-impact so anybody can do it — we’re putting a lot of focus and energy into this right now,” says Arant.


Looking ahead, Arant and her team are considering several different options for growing and expanding Midtown Pilates in the future. “I am highly passionate about seeing more women in business, and I’m excited about helping others take the jump into entrepreneurship,” she adds.


If the past is any indication, Arant will be successful regardless of which direction she decides to take Midtown Pilates in the future.


Midtown Pilates is located at 306 University Drive in Starkville. For more information, visit


Read more helpful tips and advice for growing and managing your business at Cadence Bank’s Fresh Insights Portal.



This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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