Pitch night works to bring unique businesses to Anderson

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ANDERSON, Ind. – When you walk into Aerial Fit2Fly in Anderson, you'll find a workout like no other in Indiana. Participants fly through the air, attached to a bungee cord.

It's a small sign of a larger effort underway to reinvigorate the city and launch new businesses.

"You just smile the whole time you're working out, "co-owner Lindsay Montgomery said.

She and co-owner Charity Rees said there are only about 11 other studios like theirs in the country and 40 around the world. They got the idea after Rees was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and needed a high intensity, low impact workout. Rees said after seeing a video of a bungee workout, she took out a loan and flew across the country to learn it. The longtime friends then brought what they learned back to Anderson.

"We wanted to help build it and make it the great place it can be," Montgomery said.

They presented their plan to the community at a pitch night and became the event's first winners. They said it changed their lives.

"I don't know that without pitch night we would be standing here today," Rees said.

The event is hosted by Vesuvius Coworking Inc. The organization is working to connect local entrepreneurs in Anderson and eventually form a co-working space.

"We're a private organization that just has the goal of ultimately moving businesses here that are high growth startups and short term what we can do is just really try to prove there are cool people here doing really cool things," said the group's president, Shane Bivens.

The last winner was Farm Society, a farm to table restaurant that said winning put them over the edge to open up last September.

"A lot of people talk about the closing of General Motors and while that's sad I think that there's a land of opportunity now so we kind of wanted to be one of the trend setters," said the restaurant's owner, Tami Blevins.

Following the trend are six others pitching their ideas at the third pitch night Friday for the chance to win several thousand dollars. The audience will select the winner.

One group presenting is the Sweet 16 Neighborhood Project. They're proposing a block party.

"An effort to get our neighbors out of their homes and engaged in what's happening in the community," said the Anderson Impact Center's executive director, Sherry Peak-Davis.

Another is Pulp & Pine DIY Studio and Handmade Market, which aims to provide fellowship and craftsmanship when it opens in April. But regardless of who wins, the effort is about something more.

"It's also awareness and being together with community members and sharing in the growth of what's going on," said the studio's owner, Melissa O'Connor.

Pitch night starts at 6 p.m. and is already sold out.

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