7 Things to Know About TO & FRO

To & Fro
To & Fro

The new activewear shop TO & FRO helps you look good during yoga, at the gym or while running (your life).

TO & FRO can best be summed up by one of its jackets. On my visit, I fell in love with a reversible bomber jacket—blush on one side, camo on the other. The feminine blush color yet tough camouflage blend together effortlessly to show women how beautiful and strong they are.

TO & FRO is located in Ada.
TO & FRO is located in Ada.

Anything you’d wear to work-up a sweat or maintain your busy schedule is here in the form of tank tops, sweatshirts, sports bras and joggers, many in tranquil colors of light blue, soft grey and pale lavender.  The selection of leggings is reason enough to stop in, with standout prints or embellishments such as scalloped trim at the ankles or lace striping. Below are a few reasons to become a regular.

We love a store with a snappy and fun name

The words TO & FRO put an emphasis on women who live active and busy lives. When people hear the words active or activewear, they typically think of going to a fitness class or wearing workout clothes, but TO & FRO’s clothes aren’t just for working out, they’re for active lives. Whether shuttling little ones around, grocery shopping or brunch with the girls, you can have stylish and comfortable pieces that can be worn anywhere without people asking, “Are you just coming back from a run?”

Let’s hear it for a female, veteran-owned business

“I was in the Marine Corps as a communications officer for seven years and left the service with the rank of captain,” said owner Carrie Papke, whose love for activewear started in the military. While working at the Pentagon, she started an activewear blog reviewing brands. “I dreamed of opening a store, but I realized it was a pretty expensive dream … so I put it on the backburner.”

After meeting her husband and moving to Michigan to start a family, Papke found the new role challenging. “After years of being in the military, it was hard for me to be a stay-at-home mom. I thought, ‘If I had a store, what would I sell? What am I good at?’ I instantly thought of my former blog and knowledge of activewear.”

The owner really knows her stuff…

“I’m very passionate about clothes that are soft, versatile and stylish,” said Papke, who picks leggings that not only support you at the gym but look great styled with a sweater or jacket. The focus is on softer, neutral colors and closet staples that can be worn for many years.

The gifts and accessories available for active women are quite impressive as well. It’ll be hard not to load up on all the hair accessories, gym bags, cork yoga blocks and facial products. At each turn there’s a beautiful water bottle or an inspirational book that stops you in your tracks.

Consider the store a positive and kind, feel-good spot

Its brand values are passion, positivity and kindness. “We reflect our values throughout the store with our selection of graphic tees and books. I feel like personal growth is unlimited with these values,” said Papke. “Women can be horribly critical of themselves. We want to build women up and show them that they are enough, worthy and beautiful. I feel like you must first dig down and be kind to yourself to be kind to others.” This mindset is why she’s partnered with Girls on the Run and its message of self-respect and healthy lifestyles.

The store gives you more with private consultations, pop-up shops & events

TO & FRO has partnered with Kingma’s to provide free community classes in Ada. The next community class is Sunday, Oct. 7, featuring CrossFit Forest Hills and Gravel Bottom Brewery. Fitness events are always free to the community and usually come with treats, giveaways and special promotions.

The layout of the store was designed with moms in mind

From fitting rooms that can comfortably fit strollers and include benches to kid-comforts such as a couch area, Wi-Fi and a toy bin, moms can shop while kids are content. Papke walked the entire store with her large jogging stroller to guarantee a wide range of motion.

“There are stores I’m not comfortable visiting with my daughter because they are extremely tight—between grabby toddler hands and bumping things with my stroller, it made shopping stressful. I wanted to ensure that moms could shop comfortably with children.”

Remember this number: 18

Papke is fiercely knowledgeable about the brands she carries. “We carry 18 core apparel brands and each brand has something unique to bring to the table. We can pull our favorite joggers, bras and jackets all from different brands.” Favorites include Blanc Noir, Beyond Yoga, Hard Tail, the Columbian brand Maaji, ALO (the brand that should be a household name) and DYI with its well-made compression and matte leggings.

If you’re talking shoe brands, TO & FRO has Sorel and Hunter lines coming with New Balance following in the spring. On hand currently is the British sportswear brand Gola with its line of fashionable sneakers.

TO & FRO is not a chain or a franchise and is located at 452 Ada Dr. SE, Suite 140, in Ada. Visit TO & FRO’s website for more information.

*Photos by Melissa LaHaie Photography 

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