New Yoga Business Proposed on Hillside Avenue

Foch Boulevard residents express concerns over parking due to new business.

A new yoga center will be opening up on Hillside Avenue in Mineola after receiving unanimous approval by the village board.

Franchisee owner/ yoga instructor Joyce Peprah of Uniondale, a registered nurse with a master’s in midwifery and women’s health practitioner currently working at Cornell in the newborn ICU is seeking to open a Body & Brain Holistic Center for Yoga-Tai Chi at 365 Hillside Ave., the former location of a mortgage loan company. Prior to being a mortgage business, the location housed a dance studio.

“Looking at this, there’s only one type of business that I think could be possibly better than this,” deputy mayor Paul Pereira said during a special use hearing on January 9 at the village hall, “a mortgage place; and that went out of business. I think this is probably a step above a dance studio because a dance studio you have classes and children being dropped off successively, especially on weekends.”

Four years ago Peprah discovered the benefits of yoga after she had a problem with her right knee and her left shoulder.

“As a medical field person, I had the choice of going to see my orthopedist first but I chose to do yoga,” she said. “Now my right knee is better. I decided to train and teach people what I’ve learned and with my medical background in physiology, yoga, I can understand it and apply it to the human being why even the cause that you think affects your whole body.”

Peprah, now a yoga instructor for the past four years, is planning to hold classes at the location with as many as eight students at one time for 70 minute classes. She also reportedly has obtained all necessary instructional certifications through the franchise.

She said that she would eventually give up her nursing job “because I believe that what you focus on grows. and if I want to help people then that’s what will happen.”

The business would be open most weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but until 7:45 Mondays and Wednesdays, the same day tai-chi classes are held. Saturdays they would open at 10 a.m. The location is also capable of holding private sessions for clients who desire such a situation.

“The prime benefits... everything that you do originates from your thoughts, your emotions and as a mental background person, I can understand because medically,” she said, “we have the feel-good hormone and then we have the hormones that affect you, the fight or flight, so if people are constantly under stress, you constantly are being affected by the fight or flight hormones in your body and through yoga we teach to relax and to stretch and to exercise your joints and by the end of the day, you feel better.”

The business does not accept insurance “but it’s within reasonable price,” Pepah said, noting they offer packages of 10 sessions, one, three or six-months and one-year memberships. She said that she intends to hire one additional employee.

There would be no traditional gym equipment or machines. Peprah stated that the concentration is on stretches and breathing exercises. The business would not sell refreshments or drinks, but tea would be served via a refurbished pantry which would be for employees only.

“Usually at the end of each class we sit down and we share tea,” Peprah said. “So I’ll need somewhere to prepare my tea and a small microwave.”

The existing storefront would remain and the basement area would be used as storage.

Architect Marciano Stanco of Bayside-based Magnum Opus Architecture said that they would be modifying the electrical panel, upgrading from 60 amps to 100 amps.

“The existing boiler needs to be replaced and we’re putting in an air-conditioning system,” he said, adding that the existing rear bathroom would be made ADA-compliant and one sink would be added in the pantry. There would also be no showers and dividing walls in the main floor area would be removed so as to create “one large enclosed training room and the private session room and then the actual changing rooms,” Stanco said.

Peprah stated that she intends for clients to use on-street parking in front and on the side of the location, something that concerns many residents on Foch Boulevard like Jean Keeler who stated that the area is already overrun with traffic.

“It’s probably going to be just on-the-street parking unless Ms. Peprah can work out an arrangement with the bank on the corner with the utilization of that lot,” Mayor Scott Strauss said.

“Right now we can come home anytime between 12 and seven at night and we’re parking two blocks down and not only the parking, but the cars block your driveway,” Janet Faux said. “I would love for your business to succeed, but we are concerned about the parking.”

Trustee Lawrence Werther suggested residents present a petition to the board about changing the parking regulations on the street. A majority of the residents on the block must sign then a survey is sent out by the village to all residents to see if a change is wanted.

“We need to be careful about, just speaking about petitions and changing parking regulations,” Pereira said. “We’re not in the business of, it’s unfortunate it’s your problem, but we’re not in the business of pushing your problem on to somebody else and making it somebody else’s problem; we try to mitigate it and so pushing it over one block or making it worse for someone further south on Foch is not the answer.”

The rear driveway behind the small strip of stores is also utilized by the hairdressing studio and restaurant on the corner. A municipal parking lot exists on Liberty Avenue and Hillside Boulevard, located in the Village of Williston Park.

“If you were to send your customers east, there’s much more parking two blocks east from your location,” resident Dennis Walsh said.

Peprah said that she would not have an issue with listing the municipal lot in her advertising material to clients

The board approved the measure, pending a ruling by the Nassau County Planning Commission.

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