Running a business can be overwhelming, so imagine running multiple at one time.
Forrest Rollins and Heath Graham are doing just that at Fourth Street CrossFit in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. On top of being owners of the Box, they also run RxForTime, an apparel company, and have even started a third business known as Visual Project focused on design services, apparel printing and more.
RxForTime was begun in 2012, before Fourth Street CrossFit even saw the light of day. Rollins said he and Graham had stumbled upon the idea of making t-shirts, whipping up some designs and then heading off to CrossFit events around the area to sell the apparel.
Now, Rollins said they primarily sell out of the gym. “Once we started putting the idea of the gym together, we backed off on traveling because we need to focus on getting the gym together,” he explained, alluding to the challenges of running multiple businesses at once.
When asked about lessons learned, Rollins brought up how everybody has their own thing they are good at. Graham does the financial aspects while Rollins said he can build or make anything. “We feed off of each other,” he said. “You’ve got to have your own areas to specialize in.”
Balance was another lesson Rollins has learned. “Putting too much on your plate at one time is going to be your downfall,” he said. “I would say make sure that you can make the numbers work and be sure that you have your balance sheets and everything in check and that you have all of that lined up and finances available so you can do it, and gradually add products, see what works, instead of piling on a bunch of stuff that you think may work.”
Plus, having a good team behind you is essential. “That’s the key to it,” said Rollins. “Having people that are passionate about it and want to be there for you.”
Most of all, the benefit to the members at Fourth Street CrossFit is evident. Especially being in a rural area, Rollins said having a pro shop with not only apparel but healthy food and snacks has been a plus for the athletes. He explained there’s no Whole Foods or anything of the sort near them. So, items like Ethic and AMRAP bars can only be bought at the gym. “It’s not a commodity for us,” said Rollins. “It’s a big deal.”
While they have had to see what works and what doesn’t, learning along the way, in the end Rollins said that is necessary. “Everything is always evolving, same way CrossFit is,” he explained. “Everything is evolving every day. See what works and build upon it.”