The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Sweat to Sweets: Kadee Lewis teaches Chatham students how to run a successful business

Once a month, Chatham University hosts the Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series, bringing in female owners of businesses in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. The breakfasts take place on the second Friday of every month, starting at 7:30 in the morning and going until 9:00.

The speaker at the February 14 breakfast was Kadee Lewis, the owner of BodyTech Health and Fitness and co-owner of Bella Christie and Lil’ Z’s Sweet Boutique. While the distance between what each business represents is vast, Ms. Lewis calls it “built-in job security”–have a pastry at Bella Christie and Lil’ Z’s, and go work it off at BodyTech (or the reverse, rewarding yourself for having spent an hour at the gym).

Kadee Lewis is a graduate of Edinboro University in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a degree in health and fitness. When she started out, she was scared of business interviews and decided that it would be easier to open her own business. This led to a job at a gym where she learned the ins-and-outs of business, and eventually learned enough to open her own business. This business became Fitness A La Carte.

Fitness A La Carte was unique in that members could pay for the services they wanted and not for anything else–such as only having to pay for lifting machines, spinning, or a combination of any of the gym’s services–and, as far as Lewis knows, it was one of the first of its kind in the Pittsburgh area. Another unique feature of her first gym was the snack bar, which sold desserts. It was an added stream of revenue and, as Lewis stated at the beginning of her talk, built-in job security.

Lewis’ next venture in the fitness world became BodyTech Health and Fitness. The gym started as a response to filling a niche in the Pittsburgh area before other box gyms such as Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym could move in and take customers. The business model Lewis used when she ran other gyms changed and eventually became BodyTech.  Many of her plans for other businesses adopted a similar “fly by the seat of your pants” style that Lewis joked about during the talk.

Her co-owned bakery business started almost on accident when one of her gym members called and asked for a wedding cake instead of the bite-sized desserts usually sold at the gym. Kristin, Lewis’ sister and partner in the venture, made it happen. The wedding cake was a success, and launched the start of a second joint venture, which eventually became the Sweet Shoppe and Bella Christie and Lil’ Z’s, named after Kristin’s two daughters and her niece, Kadee’s daughter.

The Sweet Shoppe now has two locations in the Pittsburgh area–one in Aspinwall and one in Blawnox. Both shops have a staggering number of items on the menu, and also do custom-made cakes and other desserts, should something not appear on the menu. The majority of the offerings at the bakery are cupcakes or cakes, although numerous other desserts appear.

The businesses are thriving and, as Lewis put it, the built-in job security doesn’t hurt.

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    Josette LeBlondMar 5, 2014 at 3:37 am

    Thank you for sharing this interesting and great article.
    Thanks for information.