In 1988, Lindsay and Moira Merrithew opened their first studio in Toronto, Canada. Recognizing a growing market demand for Pilates and a scarcity of suppliers, Mr. Merrithew, president and chief executive officer, focused on building and diversifying the business. Ms. Merrithew, executive director of education, certified as an instructor at the original Pilates studio in New York and began training clients. Together they recognized that Pilates had to be more than an exercise regimen reserved for a privileged few, so the entrepreneurs set out to demystify the method and make it available to a wider audience.
Lindsay G. Merrithew has been the driving force behind the growth of The Merrithew Health & Fitness Group, and its premier brand, STOTT PILATES®. He has been at the forefront of equipment design and manufacturing since the beginning, and continues to lead its innovative product development today. Along with a team of business and practitioner experts, Mr. Merrithew has created a vertical approach to their business, wherein clients and professionals benefit from strict attention to detail at every level – from equipment components to programming and every piece of collateral support material.
Building on the Merrithews' initial foundation and standard of excellence, the STOTT PILATES faculty and staff have worked diligently to establish the high-quality, high-precision curriculum, equipment and experience that is renowned across the industry and around the world. For over 20 years, the brand has grown exponentially across the globe and has diversified its offerings across a full range of related components. The company’s mission is to promote the benefits of mind-body fitness worldwide.
Mr. Merrithew 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 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Performing Arts in New York City. Moira is a Master Instructor Trainer and a former professional dancer.
STOTT PILATES EDUCATION
Together Lindsay and Moira Merrithew realized the benefits of the concept of the original Pilates, and in collaboration with various physical therapists and sports medicine professionals, they dissected and re-connected this unique form of exercise into a comprehensive, systematic, contemporary approach to the original teachings. The refined method resulted in the inclusion of modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation – making it one of the safest and most effective methods available. This clear and detailed approach forms the basis for STOTT PILATES training and certification programs and is used by rehab and post-rehab clients, athletes, celebrities and everyone in between.
Realizing the need to make this updated information available to the population at large, the Merrithews’ vision was to produce a comprehensive catalogue of technical manuals and supporting visual aids including wall charts and DVDs. The documentation of this material continues to make up the main body of work used in training and certification courses. To become a fully certified STOTT PILATES instructor, students must complete 500-plus hours of training along with complete evaluation and examination. Depending on their needs, students may enroll in intensive courses, and work towards certification in stages, or they may choose a more in-depth comprehensive program. The extensive faculty of instructor trainers continues to develop and refine the STOTT PILATES method to ensure that it is practical, current and relevant.
Today, STOTT PILATES has over 55 Licensed Training Centers in 23 countries worldwide, and two corporately owned centers – in Toronto and Denver. The company has trained more than 27,000 individuals in over 106 countries and is highly respected among the fitness community. These instructors contribute to the company's success as they are emotionally connected to the STOTT PILATES philosophy and are motivated brand ambassadors. STOTT PILATES is recognized as The Professionals' Choice worldwide and its dedicated staff and ambassadors continue to promote the benefits of mind-body exercise around the globe.
STOTT PILATES EQUIPMENT
To meet the demand of a growing popularity of Pilates exercise in North America and abroad, a new professional quality equipment line was developed in 1992 and the manufacturing process began in 1993. The full line was launched the following year, the same year its discrete education division was established to train and certify instructors. The organization's first certifications were granted in 1997, with the STOTT PILATES instructional video line and first edition technical manuals released shortly thereafter.
Designed and engineered by Mr. Merrithew, the complete STOTT PILATES equipment line initially caught the attention of the Pilates and fitness industries with the company's signature piece – the Professional Reformer™ – because of its quality and durability, adjustability and patented, whisper-smooth rolling mechanism.
STOTT PILATES has a reputation for having the highest quality Pilates equipment due to its superior design, component parts, adjustability and durability. Today, the equipment line numbers close to 100 individual pieces of professional-grade large units as well as light accessories. Under Mr. Merrithew's direction, the company stays on the cutting edge of product development by continually evaluating, enhancing and updating its product line for use around the world by fitness, rehab and Pilates professionals as well as avid home exercisers.
STOTT PILATES VIDEOS & MANUALS
The Merrithews entered the video production business in 1997, releasing the first STOTT PILATES fitness video entitled STOTT PILATES Essential Matwork. They launched an enhanced line of instructional videos in 1998 and today, the company has sold millions of DVDs from a library of more than 120 fitness titles for professionals as well as at-home exercise enthusiasts.
The DVDs are sold directly through www.merrithew.com, their partner Licensed Training Centers, and at major retailers across Canada and the United States including Indigo/Chapters, HMV, Sports Experts, London Drugs, Whole Foods and Borders. They are also available on-line through: amazon.com, sears.com and target.com.
STOTT PILATES publishes a full line of professional technical manuals to accompany its training and certification programs, and together, the DVDs and manuals form the most detailed documentation of Pilates exercise available.
Merrithew Health & Fitness was named one of the fastest growing companies in Canada by PROFIT, The Magazine for Canadian Entrepreneurs, five years in a row. It is the only fitness company to have made this list. The annual PROFIT 100 list ranks Canadian companies using five-year revenue growth as the measure of success. The privately held company's sales grew 742 percent from 1998 to 2003, while staff increased almost four-fold during the same five-year period. Today, STOTT PILATES employs over 100 people at its studio, head office, Corporate Training Center and manufacturing facility in Toronto, Canada. Ninety percent of the company's sales were attributed to export sales.
Lindsay and Moira Merrithew were finalists for the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003 and 2004. They were also recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the "World's Largest Pilates Class" in August 2008 in Toronto, Canada gathering over 600 participants for a single Pilates class.
The Merrithews attribute their company's success to the passionate staff and customers who have wholeheartedly embraced and committed themselves to promoting the benefits of STOTT PILATES exercise worldwide. Together it's their passion for this method of exercise that motivates them to pursue excellence in Pilates education – but its Mr. Merrithew's intuitive business sense and strong desire to push the envelope with product development that allows the brand to flourish in all aspects.