Emily Walsh and Adam Kinson plan on opening btone Fitness Hartford in May 2022. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price sat down with the couple to learn more about their experience opening a business in Hartford and becoming part of the small business community.

NAN: Why Hartford? Why open the business downtown?

EMILY WALSH: I’m from the area. I liked the idea of opening a btone in Hartford because it’s the type of amenity that can appeal to a lot of residents and commuters but isn’t available to them yet. We’ve always had family and friends living and working in the city, so over the last decade or so, even before we moved to the area, I could see what kind of community it’s becoming for young professionals and small businesses.

The demographics here closely match what you’d find in downtown Boston. Also, there’s so much Hartford pride in terms of supporting small businesses like btone, which is a niche small business that appeals to a huge variety of people.

There’s a connection between the businesses downtown that’s almost like a brotherhood. The idea of joining that kind of community is really exciting. And it’s appealing to think of starting a new business nearby other small businesses that will know a lot of the same challenges, even if their services are completely different.

NAN: Was that part of the reason you became a member of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce?

ADAM KINSON: Absolutely. It’s basically like joining this community of peers. We joined the Hartford Chamber of Commerce to help make those connections and create opportunities for partnerships or collaborations. There are so many small businesses downtown, if you walk in, there’s a good chance the owner will be there.

NAN: What’s next? When are you opening?

EMILY: We’re targeting early May for mock classes with our new team of instructors; our official launch will be within weeks after that. Construction is complete and we should be getting our custom-engineered machines in the next few weeks. Once we have those and our team of instructors in place, we’ll essentially be ready to open.

We’re super excited to offer something that the downtown area doesn’t have that could appeal to a great number of people who live and work in the area.

Read the entire interview at Innovation Destination Hartford