Mambo2Fitness sits in a corner of a strip center off South Friendswood Drive, hidden to drivers along the busy street. Upbeat music blares from inside, muffled by the dance studio’s walls.

Loren and Jenny Stevenson, a husband-wife, owner-instructor duo, opened Mambo2Fitness in August 2014. Loren, who is also a League City police officer, teaches salsa with Jenny, who also teaches Zumba, line dancing and shape-up toning.

“I wanted to build a community where I could just be myself,” Jenny said. “I’m a shy person, so I thought having my own community would give me an opportunity to know more people.”

Jenny said members come from all over the South Houston area, including Webster, Pearland, League City, Alvin, Pasadena, Kemah and Clear Lake.

“I just want to make people feel comfortable and welcome when they come in,” Jenny said. “To me, the community is key, and building that is what empowers both me and the students.”

Mambo2Fitness started with about 100 members and has grown to about 500 with six instructors. Both Jenny and Loren credit the inclusive community they have created within the studio.

“My studio is very diverse—I call it ‘United Nations,’” Jenny said. “I love it because I get to learn new cultures and meet new types of people. It opens the doors to culture.”

When Hurricane Harvey hit, the Stevensons evacuated after their home flooded with 4-5 feet of water. When they returned, they had a warm welcome.

“We had about 50 people from the studio show up at our house asking, ‘What do we need to do to help?’” Loren said.

Jenny said this is one reason they think of their members as more than just students.

“We get to know each other and it’s more personable—we connect with them besides just fitness,” she said. “Be there for your community and it turns into family.”