ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Coming together when it matters most. The St. Petersburg community is in the spotlight for the way they stepped up to save a local business from closing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that business is now paying the kindness forward.
Carrington Kilgroe, the owner of SunState Yoga, couldn’t be more grateful for her clients.
“They’re what helped us keep the lights on and keep the business afloat,” she explained.
Kilgroe opened her hot yoga studio in December 2019, just three months before COVID-19 forced businesses to close their doors as a precaution to keep the virus from spreading. She suspended the $55 to $85 a month memberships, but she was surprised when more than half of her members insisted on continuing to pay.
“They wanted to see our small business survive,” she added.
Since then, not only has SunState Yoga survived but thrived. The studio is now back to 75% capacity.
The generosity is now continuing to spread. Kilgroe decided she wanted to pay the good deeds forward, partnering with Reach St. Pete, a homeless outreach center that works to prevent, alleviate and eliminate homelessness.
At Reach St. Pete, the number of applications for help is up 1,000% from before COVID-19, according to Alexia Morrison, the co-founder and president of Reach St. Pete. At one point, Morrison says they were receiving 100 applications an hour.
“We’ve had teachers, people who have pretty common jobs come to us and say: ‘Hey I need some rent assistance this is my first time asking for help. I don’t know what to do or where to start,’” she elaborated.
Kilgroe’s studio is now collecting toiletry donations and will be hosting free yoga classes every last Sunday of the month starting Feb. 28. The classes will be held outside at Flora Wylie Park in downtown St. Petersburg. Participants are encouraged to donate $10, which will go directly to Reach St. Pete. The classes will be held from now until the end of the year.
Every dollar raised will go towards helping another family avoid homelessness.
“This is another way of me being able to send the message back into our community we support you, we’re here for you, we want you to succeed that I hope will have a large impact and will be heard loud and clear throughout our community,” Kilgroe said with a smile.
Kilgroe hopes her yoga studio’s story will prove that even when times get tough, together we are tougher.
If you’d like to help, you can also donate new hygiene products including deodorant, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, feminine products, hairbrushes and other items at SunState Yoga’s studio at 553 9th St. N. Kilgroe plans to drop off the donations to Reach St. Pete monthly.