Lindsay has been the driving force behind the growth of Merrithew Corporation and its premier brand, STOTT PILATES since the beginning. He was nominated twice for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® award and is a five-time recipient of PROFIT magazine’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies award. In addition to directing and growing the fully integrated business from a visionary and strategic point-of-view, he has been instrumental in designing, producing and marketing the company’s extensive equipment and video lines. He is a member of Ontario’s prestigious Innovators Alliance for elite entrepreneurs, and is consulted regularly by the trade and business media. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Dalhousie University and is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Performing Arts in New York City.
Moira is responsible for the development of the STOTT PILATES exercise method. After an accomplished career as principal dancer with the City Ballet of Toronto and the Atlantic Ballet Company, she went on to retrain and certify as a Pilates instructor under the tutelage of Romana Kryzanowska at the original studio founded by the late Joseph H. Pilates. In addition to creating the curricula and support materials for the STOTT PILATES education & certification programs, Moira is the content creator and featured performer in the STOTT PILATES video series. She has also found time to train such high profile athletes as former Toronto Maple Leaf goalie Ed Belfour, tennis great Martina Navratilova and ballet icon Karen Kain.
With over 125 staff between head office and the manufacturing plant, over 15,000 trained instructors in 67 countries, 50 Licensed Training Centres and two corporately owned facilities, one in Toronto and one in New York City, the company is frequently touted as the professional’s choice.
INNOVATION AND EDUCATION
A neck injury prompted Moira to become more in tune with her body and soon the couple was making a connection with the rehab world. To keep up with modern medicine and physiotherapy as a whole, they worked with numerous physical therapists, sports medicine professionals and fitness professionals to evolve the original method. Today STOTT PILATES is a contemporary, anatomically-based approach with a combination of key medical research and a modern day knowledge of biomechanics.
Lindsay says the mainstream fitness industry is what ultimately brought Pilates into the public’s eye, which in turn gave them the opportunity to refine and contemporize the method to make it more effective – and take the next steps toward new pieces of equipment innovation.
Much of the Merrithew’s success can be attributed to their individual contributions and to their staff: quality instructors, licensed training centres, fitness affiliates and dedicated employees. “I admire and respect Lindsay and Moira, not only for what they have accomplished by building STOTT PILATES into one of the leading Pilates companies in the world, but for what I believe to be their principles and ideals. I have a high regard for their personal integrity and find them to be a class act even though we are fierce competitors.” Julie Lobdell Founder and CEO, Peak Pilates
The education division designs customized training and certification courses for fitness instructors and for individuals. The commercial division manufactures a wide variety of fitness equipment to support these exercise programs. Ultimately, education and equipment go hand in hand to make it all work.
Another key aspect to the success of the company is the decision to maintain strong relationships with the people using their programming and equipment – and to create profitable career paths for instructors. Their emphasis is on creating a sense of community. According to industry leader and chief executive officer for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, Peter Davis, “… the fitness and Pilates industries are very fortunate to have two such strong contributors to inspire the world to fitness and wellness.” He says Moira and Lindsay have the perfect combination of creativity, passion, business savvy and leadership which is unusual to find in a husband and wife team. “They are not only wonderful business executives, but also extraordinary parents and quality people.”
ONE SOURCE – MULTIPLE SOLUTIONS
According to the 2007 IDEA Fitness Programs and Equipment Survey, 68 percent of facilities surveyed have Pilates as one of their program offerings. This is a 49 percent increase compared to when IDEA first started tracking Pilates back in 1999. To help fitness facilities develop their own successful Pilates businesses, Lindsay decided to hire top industry professionals to lead their Full Solutions Division. The Full Solutions team offers club owners expert consulting and business development opportunities – from staffing, education, studio equipment needs, timeline proposals, studio operations, marketing and on-going support. Creating more opportunities for facilities to increase revenue and instructors to advance their careers is very gratifying to them.
Today, more and more physical therapists, rehab patients, baby boomers, celebrities, pro athletes and regular fitness enthusiasts are recognizing the benefits of Pilates. The Merrithews and their STOTT PILATES team, through all of their efforts over the years, have contributed to this realization and have earned the respect of a grateful industry. FBC