Many Flathead residents might not know what to expect when they walk in Sobbacycle, the new boutique spinning studio in downtown Whitefish, for the first time. Even those who have been spinning before are likely to be surprised.
That’s because they typically will be greeted by Charlie, an incredibly small white dog that would fit in the palm of someone with big hands. Perrey Sobba, who also operates Space Pilates in Kalispell, owns both Charlie and the studio, though she shares ownership of the studio with her brother Walter.
Beyond Charlie, the new business is a lot like others that have been booming in popularity in metropolitan areas throughout the country in recent years. Spinning, basically stationary biking, is gaining prominence as one of the hottest ways to exercise in urban centers, and Sobba thinks they can make it a popular option in the Flathead Valley as well.
Sobba, who was raised in Whitefish, said she first got into spinning when she spent a couple of years living in Boston. When she moved back to the Flathead, it struck her that Whitefish catered to a lot of folks who have second homes there but hail from urban areas, and there could be a large market for something that didn’t already exist in the town.
“I grew up in Whitefish and then moved a fair number of places, one of which is Boston. The indoor cycling scene there is huge and it’s sort of where I fell in love with it,” Sobba said. “I came back to Whitefish and I was like I can’t believe we don’t have something like this here, it’s a resort community, super active, a lot of second homers coming from these bigger metropolitan areas that have these.”
She’s spent the last three years nursing the idea and looking for a space. Eventually she realized the corner lot that shares a city block with Whitefish City Hall would be the perfect space.
That was in August, and since she took her brother with her to look at it when he was home over break from college they have been in a maelstrom of construction, getting everything ready for the grand opening that was held on Friday.
The new studio has already hired nine instructors, and Sobba herself also plans on teaching three or four classes a week while she maintains her Kalispell pilates studio. Sobbacycle plans to host 23 classes during a typical week.
She said they also plan to host private events such as corporate events or birthday parties.
In the future, Sobba’s brother Walter will be in charge of the philanthropy arm of the business. They intend to host charity rides, where the drop-in rate will double, but 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the cause of the night, Sobba said.
She said they haven’t yet identified a full list of charities they hope to work with in the opening months, and are open to people reaching out to schedule rides.
Sobba said she and her brother chose to give the business their family name as a tribute to their father, Dr. David Sobba, an orthopedic surgeon in Whitefish who died exactly five years from the day she spoke to the Daily Inter Lake.
“It’s somewhat of a tribute to our father,” Sobba said. “He was very involved in the community and cycling was a big thing for him.”
Their father participated for years in an annual charity ride outside of Dillon called RATPOD (Ride Around the Pioneers In One Day), which raises money for Camp Mak-A-Dream, and he was quite involved with the cycling community in the Flathead Valley. They plan to send a contingent of cyclists from their business to the race that is still held near Dillon.
“He loved to ski, he loved to hike, but it was just an outlet he found,” Sobba said. “There is a cycling community here and a lot of his friends rode.”
The studio, located at 405 First Street in downtown Whitefish, will be open throughout the day so people can shop in their small retail space and get information from the front desk. Additional information can also be found on their Facebook page or website.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or email@example.com.