When Annette Webb worked at the Federal Reserve Bank a few years back, she’d bring her team out to her home in Montpelier in Hanover County for out-of-the-office brainstorming sessions and cookouts.
“People used to come out here and they’d say, ‘Oh my gosh, Annette, you could do retreats out here.’ ”
Then she retired early and became a certified yoga teacher. Dreaming of her own yoga studio led to an idea that combines many facets of her professional life.
Earlier this year, Webb launched Retreats with Annette, offering a country getaway for a day with a fitness twist.
Aimed at attracting corporate teams or other small groups, Webb offers yoga, hot yoga, massage, outdoor swimming and multiple meeting spaces — all in the backyard of her home. She recently became certified in massage so she could offer spa-based retreats as well.
“I haven’t really seen it elsewhere,” Webb said. The idea came to her while she was studying the possibility of expanding her guest house and putting in a yoga studio.
“I’m encouraging corporate groups to come out and do meditation workshops or yoga,” Webb said.
Then, they can sit around the saltwater pool to talk business, she said. She’s also putting in another outdoor patio space near the yoga room. And she has a gazebo in the yard that can hold small groups too.
What she’s finding is that other types of meetings also work well in the space. A book club recently met there and a bridal event is planned for the fall. Still, the base of her business is small-group and corporate retreats, where Webb is available to facilitate meetings (which she did regularly at the Fed), or just be the setup and cleanup crew. Webb is a professional facilitator and executive coach.
In addition to the retreat business, Webb offers twice-a-week hot yoga classes. She has taught at Bikram Yoga in Richmond for a few years.
The yoga studio behind her home is equipped to add heat and humidity, when desired. It also pulls carbon dioxide from the room and replaces it with fresh air, and has a built-in sanitizer.
“It’s a state-of-the-art yoga room,” Webb said. She recently became certified to teach Barre classes, which will be done in the yoga studio as well.
As Webb adds to the offerings, she hears from more people who want to set up an event there. Groups of women have started booking spa retreats.
“They love the idea that they can book their own yoga class,” she said.
The yoga room can transform easily into a conference room, Webb said, by removing the stage and putting in tables, a projector and a screen, all of which she supplies.
An avid gardener who loves spending time tending to her elaborately landscaped yard, Webb said she thinks most employees in the corporate world would benefit greatly from a day in the country.
“You can think out here,” she said, sitting next to the pool. “You’re not clogged … like you would be in the office.”