Meditation And Longing Gave Life To A Small Business: Plank Katonah

KATONAH, NY — The story of Plank Katonah starts with inspiration, but it’s a camaraderie built on perspiration that has turned one of the newest small businesses into what feels like a longstanding Katonah institution.

Owner Linda Murphy told Patch that the new endeavor’s success is being realized in ways that she could have never expected.

“I wanted [Plank Katonah] to feel like a home away from home,” Murphy said. “People here responded and it really felt like a shared community space right from the start.”

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Plank Katonah opened its doors in November, but the story of this unique enterprise started years earlier.

Murphy said she was running herself ragged. The busy mom, wife, and CEO of sales powerhouse, Product Launchers, had returned home to Westchester (after living in Florida) and was driving over 30 minutes each way to her favorite yoga, Pilates, and barre classes several times per week.

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She was staying fit, but she wanted something more, what she describes as a critical purpose of self-care — to build awareness and harmony in the mind and body. Instead, she was exhausting herself with her routine.

Perhaps fittingly, it was this very routine that led to a new course of action.

The epiphany for Plank Katonah came during “savasana,” the yoga pose in which participants are supposed to get as comfortable as possible, rest, and let go of all distractions. It wasn’t working for Murphy, as all she could think about was her massive to-do list. She realized northern Westchester needed a studio — and she was just the person to bring it to life.

“The inspiration came from my grandmother, Mavis Ruby, a professional dancer in England, where she met my grandfather during WWI,” Murphy recounted. “An only child, she left her parents, came to America with him, and continued her dance career teaching at the Arthur Murray Dance studio.”

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It seems the new studio is blessed not only by support from the community, but it might also be written in the stars. A barre instructor at the new studio is not only from England, but most recently taught in New York City.

But, it seems the real secret to the studio’s immediate success is that it offers that missing piece that Murphy, herself, was looking for not so long ago.

“We want guests to leave feeling like they’ve had an amazing workout, help them age gracefully and inspire them to come back for more,” Murphy said. “We look forward to making new friends, forging new business relationships, and being an active and positive presence in the Katonah community.”

The response from that community has been more than gratifying, Murphy said.

“Plank Katonah quickly became an integral part of my wellness routine,” Katonah resident, Ali Ginnel Tejtel said. “I attend classes nearly every day and am continually impressed by the instructors and the variety of options. Add in Linda’s friendliness and innovative studio vibe to complete the perfect spot to kickstart my day.”

Tejtel isn’t alone in becoming an almost immediate regular at Plank Katonah, and the convenience of the new studio in the neighborhood only tells part of the story.

“Only 3 weeks at Plank and I’m already hooked — with such masterful attention to every detail both in the physical space and business model, Linda has gifted Katonah with a very special oasis,” regular visitor Emily Sabatella said. “A perfect fusion of warmth and edginess, the studio is embracing and so are the incredibly knowledgable instructors. There is such a vast availability of class times so, no excuses … if you’re thinking about it — do it.”

Plank Katonah offers barre, Pilates and yoga fusion classes to both energize and relax guests. Fitness challenges, designed to motivate members, offer prizes such as workout gear and other gifts. A retail shop will feature Lululemon apparel and other merchandise, like handcrafted, must-have ballerina shrugs, post-workout replenishment smoothies, high-quality skin care essentials and more. Future plans include hosting events such as kids’ birthday parties, sound healing workshops, craft wine tasting, business idea sessions and so much more.

Everything, down to the smallest detail, about Plank Katonah is personalized and unique, Murphy said. The Parisian-inspired design was the result of a recent trip to the City of Lights. A handcrafted reception desk and studio doors, glassless mirrors from a family-owned glass shop and custom wallpaper flown in from the Netherlands make the space feel more like a place to unwind while giving the body a good workout. Manduka Pro mats, Bala bangles and bar weights make every class a new experience.

Murphy said she is happy to be back home in Westchester and is especially thrilled that her new business is allowing her to connect with the community she loves. Plank Katonah recently sponsored the KVIS 5K, providing swag bags and tongue-in-cheek signs along the route to help keep the runners motivated. The studio also took part in the KVIS “Katonahween” Parade, making balloon animals and handing out all-natural fruit rolls as a treat.

Murphy explained that while she strived to create a refined experience, Plank Katonah is by no means exclusive and everyone should feel welcome to stop in and see her vision made a reality.

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