Over the past six months, childhood friends Sarah Comer and Shay-Lynn Hutchings have been hard at work establishing a new health and fitness community in Haliburton County.

The pair, both raised in the Highlands, came together last July to form Wellness Hub. Located on Industrial Park Road in Haliburton, the new venture is a passion project years in the making according to Hutchings, who said the space is helping to empower several local entrepreneurs looking to kickstart their business, while offering a slew of unique programs and services to area residents. It officially opened Nov. 1.

“We dared to dream, and Wellness Hub is a direct product of that,” Hutchings told The Highlander. “We feel there’s a real gap in Haliburton County when it comes to specialized services in the health, wellness, and fitness fields. We want to bridge that gap.”

Hutchings offers massage therapy sessions, while Comer hosts popular Pilates classes. Several partners have come on board in recent months, including Chelsea Adamson and her Sweat Social health and fitness gym. The space also boasts a naturopathic doctor, holistic nutritionist, psychotherapist, and Reiki master.

Sticking true to the building’s earlier days, when it served as home to the Haliburton Dance Academy, there are also dance class options for youth and adults.

“The hub is kind of like the umbrella brand, but we have 13 different businesses operating out of here, and we’re always looking for more,” Comer said. “We will take on literally anybody if your values align with ours, which is being open minded, quality over quantity and collaboration over competition.”

The latest addition to the team is Mia Quigley, an RPN who specializes in offering IV vitamin drips.

“We’re excited to partner with Mia, because this is something that Haliburton County has never had access to before. People would have to drive to Peterborough and take a day off work to do something like this before,” Comer said.

Next, the pair are hoping to find a physiotherapist with training in pre-and postnatal services.

Reflecting on their recent opening, Hutchings said there were lots of sleepless nights, noting many things had to fall in place to make this new business feasible.

“I used to be an instructor at HDA, so I know Chyna Schell, who owned the building, very well. She really helped us get things lined up, and then agreed to do a private sale to us, almost as a way to continue the traditions of this space,” Hutchings said.

“We also partnered with the Haliburton County Development Corporation, which has been a tremendous help to us as we’ve navigated these first few months. They’ve really mentored us as we took the leap into entrepreneurship.”

They’re in this for the long haul, Comer said, and are already coming up with plans for the future.

“We have a lot of dreams and goals. We’d like to eventually extend the deck and put in a juice or coffee bar, and have the hub become a spot people can gather and hang out,” Comer said. “We just want this to be a busy, happening spot.” To learn more, visit Wellness Hub on Facebook and Instagram, or contact wellnesshubhali@gmail.com.