Family and friends hope to save Pilates studio after tragedy

Family, friends and a north metro wellness community are trying to save a Pilates studio following the tragic death of its founder.

Bridget Dunn was struck and killed by a hit and run driver, while she was out walking her dog last October. 

"She was one of those people that just you walk in the room and it is automatic light – that feeling of good, positive energy," Kelly Tollefson, a friend and client told FOX 9.

Tollefson dearly misses her close friend, and the woman who was leading her on her health and healing journey.

Bridget Dunn, who owned Dunn Pilates in Blaine, Minnesota (Supplied)

"She was amazing; still is, always will be," Tollefson said. 

Tollefson was a regular at Dunn’s Body Sense Pilates and Wellness Studio along University Avenue in Blaine. But when Dunn was killed while walking her dog near her home, a heartbroken Tollefson couldn’t bear returning to the space that was once so therapeutic.

"It was hard to come back. Honestly, this is my first time coming to the studio since she was, just really hard. to do it," Tollefson said.

After working with individuals and clients in her home in the fields of Pilates, yoga and core building, Dunn opened her own studio in 2018 and quickly built a community – particularly with those seeking pain relief from serious and sometimes debilitating injury.

"There's a lot of healing that has to happen with that a lot of these people worked with Bridget for many, many years and she was a pivotal part of their recovery and healing – so it was sad and it was hard," said Regina Brown, a Pilates instructor.
Brown is a Pilates and barre instructor attempting desperately to keep Bridget’s hopes, dreams and inspirations alive inside the studio walls.

The Dunn family still owns the business, and while everyone remains bullish on the future they are in a critical moment to pay bills that piled up during the grieving period and build back after her death.

Their hope is an online fundraiser can get them thru this difficult period and help grow this wellness community Bridget herself cultivated and nurtured. 

"This isn't a gym membership, it's not. And it's not a yoga studio," said husband Chris Dunn. "It's a community where people feel safe and people really look forward to coming here for that safe space. Knowing how important this was to her, and I know that she would want to continue that space for people to come to be healed and to be well in mind and spirit."

"She put so much of her heart into creating that community where everyone felt welcome and there was no judgment, everyone could walk in and everyone got along and it's nice and going to help each other," said Tollefson. "She devoted herself to that, so I think it's big. It was huge impact for people, and I think it's really important we keep it going."