Nearly four years after Connecticut native Denzel Allen moved to Mill Valley and opened his Strength Den MV studio in a subleased portion of Pilates ProWorks at 360 Miller Ave., he’s broken out on his own.
Allen moved into his own space at 467 Miller last month, adjacent to Seth Labott’s Cafe of Life and one door down from Tamalpie Pizzeria.
“I really wanted to stay on Miller, and this space checks all the boxes,” he says. “I’ve got great neighbors
“(Subleasing at Pilates ProWorks) was the perfect situation for being new to a town and allowing me to grow my business over time,” Allen says. “But I always knew that I wanted to be able to create my own space that allows my clients to get stronger over time.”
Strength Den’s new space is built around a 700-square-foot training area set atop inch-thick padded flooring, surrounded by the myriad mediums for clients to maintain and build their strength, which helps us move well as we age. Those mediums span kettlebells and dumbbells to TRX suspension weight training, and much more. Allen starts each new client off with a functional movement screening, whereby they perform a variety of movements like squats and lunges.
Having his own space, and quite a bit more of it, has allowed Allen to expand his offering to include a space for mindfulness and meditation, which has certainly increased in demand over the past two incredibly turbulent years of the pandemic.
For Allen himself, that turbulence has included lengthy stretches where he was unable to invite his clients into his former space due to the COVID-19 crisis, so he found himself making creative videos on Instagram and providing them free kettlelbells to keep his clients engaged, though his generosity didn’t yield much in the way of revenue during the fluctuating, Covid-induced closures.
Allen, who played football at the University of Connecticut, had his own reasons to lean on mindfulness training five months ago when he was subject to a racist tirade from a man he did not know who had seen an ad in the Marin Independent Journal promoting Allen’s business as part of the “We Are One Marin” campaign, a collaboration between the Marin Council of Chambers’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and the IJ, with support from the Marin Community Foundation.
Allen sought to bring this terrible incident to light and we used this space as an opportunity to celebrate innovative, creative business owners like him who have persevered through the pandemic AND a long overdue racial reckoning.