At Current Wellness, Brit Guerin and Nathan Williams offer a holistic approach to health, including fitness, nutrition, and counseling.
by Catherine Currin | Joe Pellegrino
“Integrating physical and mental health is so important to me,” says Brit Guerin. “You can’t really have one without the other.” Guerin, along with husband Nathan Williams, is the co-founder of Current Wellness, a comprehensive wellness center designed to provide a plethora of services including nutrition counseling, mental health support, and fitness opportunities.
Guerin has a long history in the Raleigh fitness community, with fans from cycling sessions at Flywheel, high-intensity interval classes at the YMCA, and pop-up fitness collective Raleigh Group Fitness. Guerin and Williams met seven years ago while both working in Wellness & Recreation at North Carolina State University. A professor in the university’s Parks & Recreation department by day, Williams manages the food and beverage portion of the Current. A foodie and a part-time fishmonger at Locals Seafood for the past four years, Williams always had the itch to start his own food venture. He had a food truck in mind, but when they secured a bigger space than they were expecting for the Current, he shifted his vision toward a wellness kitchen. In December of 2020, they opened Current Wellness on S. East Street.
“I knew I wanted to open a space that combined fitness with mental health therapy,” says Guerin, who is also a certified mental health therapist. Guerin and Williams chose this neighborhood intentionally. Not only do they live just down the street, but they felt it was in need of a collective space for physical and mental health. “Fitness and wellness services tend to be overrepresented in some areas of Raleigh,” says Williams. “Southeast Raleigh doesn’t have as many of these businesses, and we wanted to be part of addressing this disparity.”
Williams came up with the name for their business on an trip to Louisiana with N.C. State’s Outdoor Adventures program. While rafting on a river, he thought of the word current — and it stuck. “Current has so many meanings — it could be water, electricity, flow,” says Guerin. “We’re always evolving and changing like the current.”
Now, the Current offers fitness, yoga, and dance in its movement studio, with a pay-it-forward option to help fund someone else’s workout and a sliding pay scale for folks with fewer means. The other half of the 3,000-square-foot space is dedicated to mental and physical health. There, Guerin offers appointment-based services with chiropractors, massage therapists, and nutrition and wellness coaches. The concept merges spa, workout, and counseling into one.
Williams and Guerin are grateful for the way the neighborhood has rallied around them. “I’m always humbled by the number of people who live nearby and sign up for a class or stop in for a First Friday,” says Guerin. “We’ll often hear things like, I live across the street and thought you only did yoga classes, but it’s so cool that you can see a mental health counselor here too.”
When Williams isn’t teaching, he operates the learning kitchen adjacent to the movement studio. “It’s the heart of the building,” he says. It’s not lost on him that Current Wellness is located in a historically low-income area at a time of rapid transition. He and Guerin provide food education through monthly cooking classes. “This space is where everything comes together,” says Williams. There’s also a wellness bar, a spot to pop in for a beverage — like mocktails, CBD drinks, and kombucha — or hang out after a class. “We really like to have non-alcoholic options that aren’t just sparkling water,” says Guerin. “A non-alcoholic cocktail can be a beautiful, special drink.”
Williams researched, observed, and experimented over the years to learn the art of bartending and develop his own signature drinks. He says that non-alcoholic drinks don’t have to be boring, or overly sweet and sugary. “A lot of times people think mocktails are just juice and sparkling water,” he says. “But we’re conscious of our ingredients — there’s bitterness, and spicy flavors.”
His Peppery Paloma and Thai Basil Rickey are both complex in flavor and with a faint kick of spice. Williams uses ingredients like Seedlip, a non-alcoholic spirit that has similar properties to gin, mimicking the bitter flavor liquor adds to a cocktail. The Paloma uses coconut water and grapefruit juice as its base to provide the substantive feel of a mixed drink. Local ingredients like peppers and basil from their garden, as well as bitters from nearby Crude Bitters, give the recipes a personal touch. On First Fridays, the Current hosts guided mocktail classes as well as “Make Your Own Mocktail” stations.
Guerin says that all of the Current’s services give the community a new way to approach wellness. “Integrative services encourage folks to think about their wellness in a more well-rounded way, which better serves them in the long-term,” she says. The duo has been buoyed by the community response, and can’t wait to see how their space continues to evolve.
“We weren’t sure what folks would think about all these things being under one roof,” says Williams, “but the large number of people who utilize our services tells me that we’re filling a need.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2022 issue of WALTER Magazine