A DANCE and fitness instructor has launched a new business four years after her Romsey studio closed.

Nikki Jones, 56, was forced to shut Academy Studios at Romsey Industrial Estate after 11 years due to the pandemic. However, four years on Nikki is back with a new brand and new location offering customers a safe space for self-care and fitness.

The Lodge Retreat, at Hill Farm Park, Sherfield English, officially opened at the beginning of the month offering exercise classes, beauty and a gym.

The wellbeing centre already has around 70 members plus 15 to 20 more interested following an open evening and morning over the weekend.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Nikki JonesNikki Jones (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Nikki, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said: “Covid changed everything. Initially, we all thought it was going to be temporary. As the months went by it became apparent that it wasn’t going to happen so I decided to close the Studios completely. I was devastated. I had put everything into it and I didn’t get to sell it or close it on my own accord – it was really difficult.

“What I’m trying to create here is a nice, safe, gentle welcoming space that people feel comfortable in, it’s really important for people to be able to look after themselves.

Hampshire Chronicle: The LodgeThe Lodge (Image: Adele Bouchard)

“I was nervous about putting myself out there again and still am but I have had an amazing response which is lovely. I’m back at the start again but we’ve got some great classes, the gym is about to go live and I want to get the hair-dressing side up and running too. We want to give people the ability to allow themselves to be well.

“I want it to be somewhere that it doesn’t matter what age or ability you are – it’s somewhere you can come on your own and be healthy and feel safe and not feel self-conscious.”

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Hampshire Chronicle: The hairdressing stationThe hairdressing station (Image: Adele Bouchard)

The mother of four hopes to welcome mobile and independent hairdressers and fitness instructors to use the space on a flexible basis. A full-time beautician will also start next month.

The Lodge was previously owned by Nikki’s sister but after she moved to Scotland, Nikki decided to buy the premises at the caravan park her parents own.

While the caravan park closes for the winter season, The Lodge in Branches Lane will remain open all year round.

The building includes a studio for classes, two gym rooms with cardio apparatus and free weights, two beauty rooms and a hair room. Nikki envisages a sauna as well so she can develop The Lodge into a retreat.

Any fitness instructors, beauticians or hairdressers interested in using the space can contact Nikki on nikki.jones@thelodge-retreat.com.