Charlotte FIT finds success with Amp Up Charlotte
La Vondra Farquharson
Amp Up Charlotte

​When you first meet Taylor Calamese, certified personal trainer, you can’t help but feel her energetic, friendly and upbeat personality. She shares these same qualities with her clientele at her boutique fitness studio, Charlotte FIT.

Calamese is open about her fitness journey. During high school and part of her college years, she suffered from an eating disorder. For her, exercise was a way of overcoming her personal challenges and focusing on self-care. She later went on to pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology from East Carolina University.

Calamese, started her business in Greenville, NC, but relocated it to Charlotte in 2015. Since then, Charlotte FIT has tripled in size. The facility is now located just eight minutes up the street from where Calamese grew up. When Calamese opened her business, she intentionally created a space to empower women, particularly women of color, where they could improve their health within a supportive community.

As a small business owner, Calamese has found it especially beneficial participating in Amp Up Charlotte, a program that provides economic mobility opportunities. For the past three years, the City of Charlotte has partnered with local industries to bring the Amp Up Charlotte program to local small business owners. Participants in Amp Up Charlotte are introduced to resources and networking opportunities to help them grow their businesses strategically. The seven-month program touches on a variety of topics to include finance, marketing and procurement. The curriculum is based on the Interise award-winning StreetWise 'MBA'™.

Calamese applied to Amp Up Charlotte when one of her clients, whose business had benefitted from the program, thought she would be a great candidate. “I was in the position where I was ready to grow and scale my business but was unsure of the next steps to do so,” said Calamese.

Calamese said one of the benefits from participating in Amp Up Charlotte is it has forced her to be extremely honest with herself and the state of her business. She now has identified areas that need to change to continue growing in a more sustainable way. Calamese also feels that Amp Up Charlotte has encouraged her to take a closer look at her short- and long-term goals, especially while operating within a COVID-19 culture.

Calamese says the secret to her success has been to keep going and staying flexible. “There was no blueprint laid for me. I’ve continued to be intentional about seeking help, resources and guidance while building my business. I am just now starting to feel that I am actually running a company.” Calamese plans to open a larger, second location for Charlotte FIT in the near future.