feature story / 21 the work accord- ing to abilities. For instance, Pettigrew handles the payroll and administrative tasks. Benge has a knack for marketing and social media and Bas is their facilities manager. She jokes, “I’m the one they call if the toilet is over- flowing.” They’re also constantly communi- cating, whether it’s by text (their group chat name is 509 Mavens), email or regular meetings. At this point in their partnership, they often finish each other’s sentences. Having a partnership also means they can cover for each other so they can have a balanced life with time for other activities and endeavors outside of work. Every year, Pettigrew directs the high school musical, Bas has time to travel to the Philippines to see fam- ily and Benge spends time at her shore home. Of course, the fun part for them is working with their clients and marvel- ing at the community they’ve helped grow with people of every age, back- ground, fitness level, career, shape, size and race. Says Benge, “It’s this huge gamut of people who come together and feel good together.” Clients of- ten act as ambassadors by introducing themselves to newcomers, welcoming those they don’t recognize and helping each other with equipment – such as clipping on the TRX straps and adjust- ing them to the right length. It’s clear to the owners that the cli- ents willingly claim a stake in 509’s success. Pettigrew explains, “People want to belong somewhere…and some find it at places like ours where they have shared experiences.” And those experiences can be in the classes, in the entry where clients are taking shoes off and stashing them in the cubbies while chatting about their kids or participat- ing in some of the fundraisers the stu- dio holds. (On November 16 at 7:30 p.m., they'll celebrate their opening with a karaoke party. Proceeds will go to relief efforts in Puerto Rico.) Pettigrew shares her favorite times at the studio: “when the class is full and we’re all in that moment together.” That’s what they call “feeling the 509” – and it feels pretty good. Ellen Donker has "felt the 509" and plans to get back to the TRX straps pronto. The new section of the Studio 509 space on its way to completion. Clients use the TRX straps in a Total Fitness class. APPLYING FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS? Since applications to private schools are increasing every year, acceptance rates are declining. At Academic Journeys, we work with families on application essays, interview prep as well as test prep. With 10 years of experience, we know that the most efficient and effective process starts with assessments. We find out how a student learns, their reading speed/comprehension and the results of a mock admissions test. Using this information we craft an individual plan for each student. CONTACT US TO GET STARTED! 973-564-5220 or Maureen@academicjourneys.us 227 Millburn Avenue, Millburn