Sunstate Yoga is a new yoga studio located at 553 Dr M.L.K. Jr St N in St. Petersburg, and owner Carrington Killgroe was born and raised right here in the Sunshine City.
Inventive, compassionate, and evolving small businesses are the lifeblood of St. Petersburg — and all of the qualities that make this city such a wonderful place to live and work are embodied in Sunstate Yoga, St. Pete’s only all-heated Power Yoga Studio.
Owner Carrington Killgroe was born and raised right here in St. Petersburg, and giving back to this community is in her DNA.
Sunstate gives back to those who need it most
We asked Carrington about the inspiration behind her business, what it’s like operating a yoga studio through a pandemic, the local spots she loves and more in a recent interview.
If you want a quick glimpse inside, WATCH this clip from one morning inside the hot yoga studio.
When did you open Sunstate Yoga, and what was the process like getting the space ready?
I opened SunState Yoga in December of 2019! Earlier that year, I was living in Atlanta working full-time at a marketing company, and in any of my spare time I’d be working on my branding, talking to potential teachers, or scouring the internet for commercial space. That summer I found the space we’re in now & fell in love with it, but I had a contract to be working in Atlanta until mid-October. So for the first full month of the buildout of our space, my mom would go and meet various contractors there & just FaceTime me in!
What’s the most satisfying part of owning your own business, and the most unexpected?
The most satisfying part of owning my own business is getting to share what I love everyday. Yoga has literally changed my life in so many ways, and I just knew that St. Pete could benefit from the kind of community I had envisioned. Seeing my vision become a reality, and having people tell me how much our studio means to them has been incredibly rewarding.
The most unexpected part would have to be how tiring it is. I was used to working 12-14 hour days, so it’s not like I was coming from your average 9-5 job. But now there aren’t clear lines of when I’m working and when I’m not working, and when a lot of your work involves physical activity, it can be pretty exhausting!
Creating a culture where everyone can succeed
You were born and raised in St. Pete, how does it feel to now own your own spot in the Sunshine City?
Being from St. Pete, it’s special to get to have these new kinds of business relationships with different people I knew growing up. For example, I saw a girl I knew from high school was doing interior design work and loved what she was posting on social media – so I reached out to have her design my studio for me! Another girl I played volleyball with growing up ended up doing our teacher training and became a teacher at the studio! And I could go on and on down the list of people that I’ve reconnected with since opening my studio, but I think it just comes down to this feeling of being supported by the people around you, and knowing that we all want to see each other succeed.
How has the city changed over the years in your eyes?
St. Pete has grown tremendously – I love how many trendy restaurants there are downtown and how walkable it all is. There are so many more young people that live in St. Pete now than I remember growing up – like hip, cool 20 & 30 something year olds! I always knew I’d want to end up in St. Pete when I was older, but that definitely made it more enticing for me to come back here sooner rather than later.
The mural on your building says “All Are Welcome” What does that message mean to you, and to the philosophy of Sunstate Yoga?
That’s actually one of the first things that stood out to me when I looked at this as a potential space for the studio. It was exactly the message that I wanted to get across. There are so many misconceptions about who yoga is for – whether you think it’s just for women, or only for thin people, or that you have to be someone who recycles and doesn’t eat meat. The truth is, yoga is for every body. You don’t have to be flexible, you don’t need fancy gear, and you don’t need to have a certain skin color or wear a certain size to practice yoga. At SunState Yoga, the only thing you need is to show up as a YES for yourself & then this transformational practice will do the rest.
Advice to those hoping to open their own business
What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone hoping to open their own business in St. Petersburg?
Really know who your target market is. By trying to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. Know who you are and what need you’re filling in this community. Have fun & build lasting relationships 🙂
What is the SunState Yoga Experience? What should a first time yogi expect?
SunState Yoga delivers a fun, sweaty and empowering yoga practice, while building community in the process. You don’t need experience, showy poses, or fancy gear to do yoga, just simply show up! You can trust that you’ll be greeted here with open arms.
Can you describe what it’s like owning/operating a small business through a pandemic?
It made me realize how valued our space is to the people in our community, and that people were craving this kind of connection now more than ever. We have some of the most loyal clients in the world, and we couldn’t be more grateful for it.
Celebrating St. Petersburg small businesses
Are there any other local nonprofits/small businesses you’d like to shout out?
Last summer, my dad – who was also born and raised in St. Pete – branched out and started his own wealth management firm, Cyndeo Wealth Partners. He’s always been an inspiration to me and has influenced a lot of my work ethic growing up, so it’s cool to now do the whole entrepreneurship-thing alongside him (although I technically beat him to it). It’s inspiring to watch him so far along in his career, a time when most people are winding down for retirement, still working so hard to push for growth and innovation.
A few rapid fire questions:
Favorite Restaurant: Casita Taqueria
Favorite spot to unwind: Maison Glo
Go-to coffee shop/cafe: Craft Kafe
A business that inspires you: Spanx
Favorite nonprofit: Reach St. Pete