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Is Main Street about to become the Westside’s new healthy hotspot?


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The Now. Photo: Tessa Neustadt

As Brentwood and Montana Avenue reach peak saturation point with fitness studios, organic nail salons, and fancy-pants athleisure shops—and Abbot Kinney Boulevard rent prices reach a peak of their own—a less-flashy locale is becoming the destination of choice for healthy businesses looking to make their mark on Los Angeles’ Westside.

We’re talking about Main Street, which stretches between Venice and Santa Monica, two blocks east of the beach. With its rows of mom-and-pop shops, it’s just about as quaint as its Disneyland counterpart—but that hasn’t stopped it from attracting some big-deal wellness names of late, most recently iconic yoga and spinning studio YAS and buzzy new massage spot The Now.

In the case of YAS, which originally set up shop on Abbot Kinney back in 2001 (way before GQ infamously named it the coolest block in America—and, inevitably, turned the street into a tourist magnet), the move was prompted by a steep rent hike. “I’ve been there 15 years and my lease was up,” founder Kimberly Fowler tells Well+Good. “I was trying to negotiate with the new landlord, but they quadrupled my rent. I’m not a national tenant, so I couldn’t afford it.”

A rendering of the new YAS location on Main Street (Photo: YAS)
A rendering of the new YAS location on Main Street. Photo: YAS

Luckily, as time was running out, Exhale abruptly exited its Main Street yoga studio, and Fowler immediately scooped it up. The new space is going to be bigger and better than the original YAS Venice, with 50 bikes and a dedicated yoga studio, a larger retail area, and a juice bar from “a well-known local brand,” she says.

Fowler is in talks to bring some of Exhale’s former yoga instructors on board; she’s also hoping to collaborate with some of her healthy neighbors on client perks, like cult fave vegan ice cream shop Kippy’s—another recent Main Street transplant—and Bulletproof Coffee. A grand opening celebration, also marking the studio’s 15th anniversary, is scheduled for August 4.

For Bulletproof, which opened its flagship cafe on Main last July, the street marks the perfect halfway point between Venice and Santa Monica, with a healthy flow of international tourist traffic. “The end of Main Street where the Bulletproof Coffee shop is located gets significant spillover from Abbot Kinney,” says founder Dave Asprey, who is preparing to open his second LA cafe in Downtown LA’s Arts District this summer. “Many of our e-commerce customers are based in the Santa Monica area, so we also wanted to open our first shop close to them.”

Photo: Facebook/Bulletproof Coffee
Photo: Facebook/Bulletproof Coffee

That healthy, butter coffee-drinking vibe is what ultimately drew in massage shop The Now, which selected Main Street as the site of its second location (opening early June). “We obviously like being surrounded by like-minded businesses and being part of a community where everybody is already enlightened to the different ways of feeling better,” says co-founder Erica Malbon. The Now’s new next-door neighbor is Pressed Juicery, while organic bistro Urth Caffe and Yogaworks are just a few steps away.

With tech companies continuing to populate the ‘hood—Twitter and Google both have new-ish offices on Main—we expect its healthy cred to grow even stronger. “The Main Street customer is savvy,” says Asprey. “They are interested in their health, working out, and especially improving overall brain and body performance.” Good thing the neighborhood truly is becoming a bio-hacker’s dream.

For more off-the-beaten-track wellness on the Westside, check out Love Yoga‘s digs on Lincoln, Speir Pilates (and its Carbon38 pop-up shop!) on 7th, and Bondi Harvest‘s new cafe on Santa Monica’s eastern border.