“Declare bankruptcy or sell it,” was an overheard phrase that inspired Andrew Chicoine to take ownership of Red Stick CrossFit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and turn the business around.
That he did, but without previous experience in the fitness industry and the help of others, Red Stick CrossFit may not be the thriving business it is today. Chicoine knew no one when he moved to Baton Rouge, so it took some time to learn the area and members of the CrossFit industry. Once he met those Affiliates, he knew they would be stronger resources for each other than any Google search or online forum.
“After about a year, I started to meet other Box owners at local competitions or fundraisers,” said Chicoine. “I got to know three other gym owners here in town and we still use each other as references, or if we have a subject pop up and we just don’t know how to handle it. We all ask each other for advice and help, or how they dealt with a situation.”
A similar situation happened to Eryn Goldberg, owner of CrossFit JuiceBox. A nomad of sorts, Goldberg had lived in various places from Hawaii to New Jersey. When she made the decision to open her Box she touched down in Mooresville, North Carolina.
Goldberg quickly realized the importance of having local Affiliates as a resource and a helping hand, rather than competition. “I started a CrossFit Affiliates meeting for the Affiliates in the Lake Norman area,” said Goldberg. “We have been meeting once a month right now. We get together and discuss best practices and all that sort of stuff. Just getting us all in a group together so we can figure out the best ways to stay cutting-edge with CrossFit in a world of Orangetheory and all these flashy fitness models.”
At one time, Boxes in the Baton Rouge area also hosted these local Affiliate meetings. Now, Chicoine sees himself turning into the mentor he once needed. Since taking ownership of Red Stick, Chicoine has watched members leave to start their own fitness businesses. However, unlike most, he doesn’t see this as competition.
“There are two members that have left my gym to open up other gyms, and they call me, text me and message me all the time just asking questions about various topics,” said Chicoine. “I think that’s so cool. I don’t get upset when they leave to open up another gym. I see it as a compliment. They learned to love it so much at my Box they decided this is what they wanted to do with their life, too.”
Using each other as a resource can help your business grow to new heights. “What you can learn from getting together with other people is invaluable,” said Goldberg.
In fact, both Affiliates agreed the exposure of CrossFit is what’s key, and that happens when Affiliates come together. “The more people see CrossFit the more they might come to a Box and try it,” said Chicoine. “We aren’t competing against each other; we are all trying to build a community within our city.”