Melissa Campbell has split her time during the last few years making Hoola Hoops and selling consignment art at Filligrees Gallery & Boutique at Elmwood and North Forest avenues.
This year, she went all in on the hoops, and plans to expand her circle of influence beyond three places you already can find her handiwork: Terrapin Station, Larkin Square and the BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Cruiser.
Campbell, 34, leads fitness classes in her business, which she has renamed Ultra Hoops, looks to do more corporate wellness programs and is starting to throw kids parties.
“I’ve also applied for a patent,” she said, “so I have an engineer working on a hoop with a technology element, a bluetooth inside of it, so it will measure your workout – how fast you were going, how even you kept the hoop and how long you kept it going.”
She looks to have a prototype available June 6 for the Mini Maker Faire at the Buffalo Museum of Science.
Campbell also is at work on her second annual Buffalo Hoopathon, set to roll from noon to 4 p.m. next Saturday at the Buffalo History Museum as part of the second annual Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival. For $10, competitors in three age groups will see how long they can keep hooping to win prizes. Sign up at hoopathonbuffalo.com.
See a schedule for the second annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs next Saturday to May 9, at buffalocherryblossomfestival.org.
“I was leaning toward hoops the last couple of years but it felt safe to have a gallery on Elmwood,” she said of her company decision-making. “As far as business goes, and where my energy and my heart is, it was with the hoops over the past year.”
Q. How many different ways is the hula hoop celebrated?
I’m doing classes. I’m also doing demos and workshops for businesses and organizations. I’ve done a couple wellness days. I talk about Hula Hooping, the body, the way energy moves through the body, how it affects your organs and your core. I bring in some Eastern views of medicine and Western views of fitness and activity. I have a hoop-making station in the store: I have a bunch that are made and I have a bunch of blank ones, so people can pick their colors. I can do a custom one, too. I also make bulk orders. Terrapin Station has a bunch of my hoops now for sale. I also do parties and community events. I can bring the hoops to a family picnic, a corporate picnic and I also can do kids parties where you would include everyone making a hoop, and face painting and coloring and lots of games with the kids.
Q. You’ve been at this now for four years. How has your health and fitness changed?
After that tough winter, I put on a couple of pounds. As soon as I started my classes, I lost it right away. It’s a lot in the waist, but it also gets the arm and shoulders big time. It works your shoulders more than you think at first, because you have your arms up the whole time.
Q. Talk about your classes.
They run at noon Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays and at the end of May I’m going to start a 6:30 class on Thursday nights. Without the boutique stuff, the store is completely cleared out, so there’s 600 open square feet of space, with mirrors on the walls. There’s weightlifting, weight training, stretching and then hooping around the waist, off the body and a bunch of different tricks. It’s $60 for six weeks and $100 for 12 weeks. (Register online at ultrahoops.com.)
Q. Talk about the Hoopathon. You’ve moved it this year and it looks like it’s come down in price, correct?
The Hoopathon is part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, a (mostly) free event, and next Saturday is Kids Day at the Buffalo History Museum. The Hoopathon is part of this big thing. It’s changed this year because I have three different age groups and a grand prize for each of those. It’s $10 for whoever wants to compete (and free for spectators).
Q. The hooping contest next weekend rewards whoever can hoop the longest?
Right. We’re going to go 3½ hours, and if there are still people leftover after that, we’ll have a face-off. The age groups are: 12 and under, and the winner gets an Ultra Hoops birthday party worth $500. The next one is 13 to 17 and that’s an Elmwood Village shopping spree. The grand prize for those 18 and up is a $300 NOCO gas card.
All proceeds are going for the Friends of the Japanese Gardens. They’re repairing some stuff in the garden in Delaware Park that was vandalized, and replacing the gate.
Q. What does the summer hold for you?
I’m going to be at Larkin Square a few times on Wednesday nights. I’m also going to be out at the Holland Speedway June 20 for their kids night. I’m mostly going to do the classes and, hopefully, corporate wellness during the 9-to-5 hours.