Small Business Stories | Courtney Lyles

Small Business Stories | Courtney Lyles

In just a few short years, Courtney Lyles has transformed into a confident, resourceful, and influential business owner. Fit and Curvy by Caramel is more than a business; it’s a testament of triumph over adversity, determination, and community support. 

Courtney’s path to entrepreneurship began after a terrifying experience as a gym trainer. She was a victim of sexual assault at gunpoint. Courtney chose to turn her pain into purpose. With just a year of experience as a trainer under her belt, she decided to open her own fitness business. She transformed her living room into a studio space where women could feel safe, comfortable, and empowered. Her new business trained over 40 women a week. In April 2020, Courtney took a big step and signed a lease to open her fitness studio, Fit and Curvy by Caramel in Spartanburg. Despite facing the devastating loss of her mother due to COVID-19 that year, Courtney remained steadfast in her mission to empower women to lead healthier lives.  

With the pandemic forcing gym closures, Courtney adapted her business model to the virtual world. This transition allowed her to expand her client base significantly. Courtney continues to offer virtual and recorded training, enabling her to connect with a wider audience. 

Courtney got plugged into the Women’s Business Center in 2022 and facilitated a virtual gathering focused on keeping women entrepreneurs healthy. Her time at the Women’s Business Center connects to her belief that “when you give back to the community, the community gives back to you.” 

Looking ahead, Courtney envisions the continued growth of her business, including larger investments, potential franchising, and expanding her gym to include additional equipment. As someone who started her fitness journey a bit later in life, her understanding of making a significant lifestyle change is reflected in her ability to connect with her client base, which includes mothers, wives, and other entrepreneurs. 

Courtney’s journey has been marked by transformation and empowerment. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is a testament to her strength: “You have to stand fast and believe in what you’re doing. You have to use the resources given to you.”  

She highlights the unparalleled drive that comes with being a business owner and encourages others not to give up, no matter how many rainy days they face, because “the rainbows outweigh the rain.”