Good Life

Yoga studio to open in downtown State College

The six founders of Yoga Lab, from left, Ariel Xu, Mark Agrusti, Kristen Boccumini, Theo Thwing, Jeremy Engels and Anna Engels pose in front of the downtown State College location.
The six founders of Yoga Lab, from left, Ariel Xu, Mark Agrusti, Kristen Boccumini, Theo Thwing, Jeremy Engels and Anna Engels pose in front of the downtown State College location. Photo provided

Three couples start a yoga studio together, bringing backgrounds that reach into art, philosophy and psychology. They recruit some of their friends, which include a ballet dancer and musician, to help.

The Yoga Lab, located at 124 McAllister Alley in State College, is not the set of a new reality show but rather a real business. The 750-square-foot studio is set to host its first classes on Monday.

“Most of us have been doing this for over 10 years,” said Jeremy Engels, a teacher and co-owner. “We wanted to open up space that utilizes the best of Western science about the body but also Eastern philosophy as well.”

The space was previously Tea Time, a bubble tea shop, which closed in June 2015. Engels said one of the other co-owners saw a sign around December, and the idea took off.

“I think some days we each fantasized about opening up a yoga studio, but trying to do that as an individual is just overwhelming,” he said. “I think what really did it for us is to teach a kind of yoga that is sustainable and healthy for our students. And when the space came available, it kind of forced the issue.”

The team started renovations in May and turned the former eatery into a tranquil, open-plan space. The group added three teachers as part of last week’s round of training.

The studio is offering membership plans for college students and community members. But for the more reticent, there are introductory and drop-in options available, too.

A schedule of classes and pricing options can be found at the Yoga Lab’s website.

“There are some kinds of work that nobody can do for you, and for me that’s the work of being more mindful and more compassionate and more patient and more focused,” Engels said. “At Yoga Lab, what we want to do is to create a space and give our students the tools where they can do that work for themselves.”

Bellefonte boutique brings bohemian chic

Helen Foxx and Co., a new women’s clothing store in Bellefonte, takes its name from a piece of town history.

Helen Fox lived about a century ago, co-owner Wendy Hockenberry said, and worked as milliner. Hockenberry and her business partner, Joyce Mills, sought to honor a prominent woman in Bellefonte’s history, preferably one who worked in the clothing industry. A search of the local archives produced Fox’s name, spelled with one “x,” and the pair decided to appropriate it for their shop. They added another “x,” not because they’re huge Jamie Foxx fans, but because there are two of them.

“We wanted to sort of bring in the history of Bellefonte, and we just loved her name,” Hockenberry said.

Inside the boutique, located at 122 S. Allegheny St., lies an eclectic mix of new and old, she added. Besides a collection of imported and consignment clothing, the store sells jewelry, purses and some home goods. There are hats, of course, too.

“We wanted to make sure that it was things you don’t find in your average department store,” Hockenberry said. “Just things that have a little bit of extra flair, something different.”

The 2,800-square-foot store opened on Aug. 10. Previously, Hockenberry owned the cafe Cool Beans in Bellefonte for eight years. She sold it to Sherry Nelson in April.

The duo describe themselves as “sisters from another mother” and are tailoring their boutique toward women. They said it has a starkly different feel from a mall or large-scale retailer. For instance, there’s also a couch if customers want to relax and have a quick chat.

“We have a female doe that’s hanging on the wall,” Hockenberry said. “No big horns here.”

The store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Nature Inn named USA Today’s Best Eco-Friendly Hotel

The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle has been named USA Today’s Best Eco-Friendly Hotel, beating out contenders such as The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco and The Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, N.C.

The LEED Gold Certified hotel narrowly edged The Crash Pad in Chattanooga, Tenn., for the title, assistant innkeeper Cody Wolfe said. The day before the results were announced, The Nature Inn sat in second place.

“We’re just super excited,” Wolfe said. “All the hard work of trying to do everything with the environment in mind and it’s obviously not easy, from the chemicals we use to just everyday thought processes on everything we do in the hotel. So to finally be recognized for that nationally was pretty exciting.

“Especially for such a small property, the other properties we were competing with were all over the country, places in Vegas, some massive properties as well, so that was pretty neat.”

Sustainability is not just a buzzword for the green retreat, but rather a raison d’être. From watering the plants to heating the building, just about everything in and around the hotel is reused, recycled or rejuvenated. Wolfe hopes that for visitors in particular, the latter is true.

With the distinction, his point may be proven: The competition was based on number of votes.

“I think it says folks are not always looking to vacation in these exotic areas,” he said. “You can vacation locally and still actually make more of a difference than going out to some of these larger properties. I think people like that fact that you can maybe go 30 minutes or two hours to a little lodge overlooking a lake and have just a great experience.”

U-Haul adds dealer in Port Matilda, Julian

U-Haul Company of Pennsylvania has added Houtz Self Storage in Port Matilda and Allwheel Auto in Julian as neighborhood dealers, the company recently announced.

Located at 25 TLD Circle in Port Matilda, Houtz will feature a fleet of U-Haul trucks, trailers and towing equipment as part of the deal. According to a release, Houtz will also provide support rental items and in-store pickup services for boxes.

Allwheel Auto, located at 1655 S. Eagle Valley Road in Julian, will offer similar services.

The vehicles offered range from pickup trucks to 26-foot moving trucks. No commercial driver’s license is needed to operate any of the available vehicles.

Founded in 1945, U-Haul claims to be North America largest self-storage and moving company. Parent company AMERCO reported more than $27 million in first quarter revenues from self-moving equipment and self-storage rentals combined. The company ended the first quarter with net earnings of $147.2 million overall, down from the $171.3 million for the same time frame last year.

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy