If you’ve ever thought about running your own yoga studio, now is your chance to take over a fully operational yoga business in downtown Morro Bay.
For the last 13 years, yoga instructor Valentina Petrova has led her students in a variety of stretches, poses and breathing exercises designed to leave them feeling loose and relaxed.
As she embarks on a new career in psychology and social justice, Petrova now wants to leave her business in the right hands. So she’s giving away her Holistic Movement Center to the person who wins a 250-word essay contest.
“I wanted to give somebody an opportunity to live their dream,” Petrova said. “That’s what I’ve done for the past 13 years.”
A $108 entry fee is required for processing and reading the essays.
The new owner will receive up to $2,000 in start-up cash and take over a lease with a monthly rate of $1,250 for the 1,400-square-foot, hardwood floor studio at 845 Napa Ave.
They will inherit an established studio that clients have grown to know and frequent. The new owner will assume no debt, liens or taxes or any other financial issues.
The lease contract is for one year with the option to renew as long as the contract hasn’t been breached; the new owner will also have to pass a standard approval process that the landlord uses to assess new tenants. The winner will have the chance to contact the landlord before accepting the new studio to work out the details.
Petrova says the business has been valued at $65,000 by an independent expert — Gary Bayus of Prestige Business Sales, Mergers & Acquisitions. The company is not involved in the contest and won’t be accepting calls for information about Holistic Movement Center.
The idea of the contest is to attract, through a fair process, “the best, most creative visionary to continue nourishing and inspiring the community,” Petrova said.
Petrova, a native of Bulgaria, moved to America in 1992 and found her way to Los Osos after living in Hawaii for about eight years, where she practiced yoga regularly.
With a degree in economics, she had plans of becoming an investment banker and took up yoga instruction in the early 2000s as a hobby while day-trading locally.
“I wasn’t really thinking about doing yoga as a career,” Petrova said. “But I found out I’m really good at teaching, and I loved it. My trajectory in life became completely different.”
Realizing that many people living along San Luis Obispo County’s North Coast were attending classes in San Luis Obispo where several yoga studios now exist, Petrova thought Morro Bay could be well served by a new venue for yoga students.
Since opening her center in 2002, Petrova has grown her client base to an estimated 200, a fluctuating number, and manages up to nine additional yoga teachers at a time.
Petrova is moving on to a new career as she nears the completion of a master’s degree in integral psychology from John F. Kennedy University, driving to the Bay Area once or twice a week to attend classes.
She decided on the contest, she said, because often yoga businesses elsewhere are sold behind the scenes and suddenly longtime owners are “skedaddling out the back door” and the community has little input or knowledge of the transition.
“I wanted to involve the community in the application process,” Petrova said. “It’s good karma.”
She’s opening up the contest to anyone, whether they’re local or from out of the area.
She’ll do the initial reads of essays after the entries are tagged with numbers so she doesn’t see the names, narrowing the entries to a final group of 20. The numbered essays will be posted anonymously in the studio, with public voting among students to whittle them to the top 10.
Then two independent judges will select the winner with two backups in case the top choice backs out.
The deadline is June 30, and the winner will announced by July 20. The person who accepts the prize will have 30 days to take over the business.
Petrova said the 250-word format was meant to prompt people to get straight to the point.
“They must show focus and precision,” Petrova said. “It’s enough space for an informal résumé. If they can make me laugh, even better.”
Petrova said that her business is a “very good middle-class living.” The studio averaged $98,000 in annual gross income for each of the past three years, she said.
She said people’s reaction to her contest have ranged from surprise to support to those “who may think I’m crazy, but they’re not saying it.”
“A huge majority of the people love the idea,” Petrova said.