Local husband-wife team to open new gym, hot yoga studio in Bowie


Eric and Tammie Watson, owners of a Hotworx gym and yoga studio in Bowie, stand outside the franchise off High Bridge Road. Photo courtesy of Tammie Watson.

By Zephan Matteson
UMD Local News Network

BOWIE, Md. — When Eric Watson, a former Marine and entrepreneur in the Bowie area, was asked what drew him to the health and wellness industry, he had a simple answer.

“Just want to live longer,” Watson said.

Watson’s experience with health problems, and a desire to be there for his children is what led him to have a greater appreciation for his own health, and to become involved in various small businesses within the industry.

“Young kids. Want to eventually see them graduate school, get married, have kids and all that type stuff,” Watson said.

Watson and his wife Tammie Watson have both been involved in the health and wellness industry for years, and they are now bringing their passion for fitness to Bowie as the franchise owners of a Hotworx fitness studio.

Hotworx is an infrared heated gym and yoga studio that is open to members 24/7. According to Eric Watson, the studio he and his wife are opening, located at the shopping center off High Bridge Road in Bowie, is the first of its kind in Prince George’s County.

Eric Watson is originally from the D.C. area, and got his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Syracuse University before joining the military.

He served in the Marine Corps for 20 years, working as a pilot with Cobra Attack helicopters and Cessna Citation aircraft, before retiring in 2012. He has since worked for the federal government as a project manager, and obtained a masters in business from the University of Maryland in 2014.

Tammie Watson played college basketball for Fresno State and later California State, San Bernardino. She graduated with a business degree and a minor in public administration.

The couple met in California, and while Tammie Watson initially worked in finance for seven years, she moved onto different work to accommodate their family situation. She felt that she needed more freedom to be with her children, especially with her husband in the military.

This led Tammie Watson to pursue more entrepreneurial endeavors. She worked as a realtor for eight years, and also became a wellness coach, which led her into the wellness industry she and her husband are in now.

Tammie Watson said that their children’s struggles with eczema and asthma also compelled them to learn more about health and wellness. Eric Watson, meanwhile, has problems with high cholesterol.

Eric Watson has also pursued a number of other business endeavors throughout his entire career.

“I've been involved in several entrepreneurial endeavors, a lot of them around health and wellness, and that's pretty much what led us to this is being entrepreneurial minded,” Eric Watson said.

Owners chose Bowie over Bethesda or Annapolis

At one point the couple even went into the restaurant industry, opening up a restaurant in California.

“We learned very quickly that location is so very key, and so didn't do as well as we wanted it to but it did OK,” Tammie Watson said.

The couple have been living in Bowie for around ten years now, and are excited to be able to share their passion for health and fitness with their community.

“We live in Bowie,” Eric Watson said. “We felt like if we're going to start a business like this, a brick and mortar type business where we're going to be directly interacting with the community on a day to day basis, we would prefer to start something like that in our own community,” Eric Watson continued.

Tammie Watson said that they were told when they started planning to open a studio that they should go to other communities like Bethesda or Annapolis. But they felt that bringing what Hotworx offers to their community was more important, especially as black business owners.

“This is our community,” Eric Watson said. “We felt like we would get the most support where we feed the community, the community feeds us, and we can work together.”

“It's just education,” Tammie Watson said. “I think many times our community aren't aware of ways that they can improve their health and overall wellness with simple, holistic ways, and this is one of the holistic ways that they are able to improve their health.”

Hotworx franchise owners Eric and Tammie Watson of Bowie inside their yoga studio. Photo courtesy of Tammie Watson

Soft opening set for May 13

The Hotworx studio is still under construction: permitting papers still plaster the front of the building, and the reception area is full of empty boxes. However, by May 13, the owners plan to have a soft opening of the studio open for its founding members who will receive member pricing.

Hotowrx will offer a variety of programs like pilates, high intensity interval training, and yoga classes, all under intense infrared heat. According to Tammie Watson, the infrared heat provides a variety of health benefits, including improving circulation.

Raymond Harmon, the general manager of the Hotworx studio is optimistic about the future of the studio in Bowie.

“I see it blowing up. I see two or three locations happening very fast,” Harmon said.

Harmon said that the studio in Bowie already has 250 founding members, and that Hotworx studios at full capacity can have up to 1,000 members.

Harmon will be the man running the day-to-day operations of the studio. He has around seven years of management experience with companies like Planet Fitness, but said he feels more at home at the Hotworx in Bowie.

“It’s more like a family,” Hamon said, about working at Hotworx with Eric and Tammie Watson, as compared to his previous jobs.

At the grand opening Eric Watson said he wants to have the whole community attend, potentially, even the mayor.

“Want to make sure we get everybody out here to celebrate with us because it'll be a party,” Eric Watson said.

Zephan Matteson is a student reporter in the University of Maryland Local News Network. He reported on community news in Bowie during the spring semester of 2024.

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