In 2012, Bourbon Barrel CrossFit opened in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Co-owner Jennifer Stephens shares about the business below.
Our Box is unique because we are a very family-oriented Box. We cater to not only adults but to kids. As a child therapist and a behavior analyst in my other job, this has allowed me to bring fitness to kids and to help provide another opportunity for kids of all ages, abilities and needs. Our Box membership is comprised of down-to-earth individuals that all come together to support each other in any way possible. Also in our gym, big picture health is most important and allows us to help our members focus on the goals of health and wellness. Our Coaches also all come with a variety of backgrounds and experience that allows us to come together and look at things from several different viewpoints, providing our members with a more comprehensive experience.
I got started in CrossFit after my husband wanted to open a gym to give a place to lift in our small town. At that time there were no squat racks in town and with his Olympic lifting background he wanted to provide this opportunity. Upon opening for this purpose, we grew and expanded to explore CrossFit, gained the training, knowledge and experience, and after two years transitioned our garage gym into a CrossFit Box. The biggest challenge opening up was we do not live in a town we grew up in, and in a small town, business comes from word of mouth. In order to grow our gym, we did what we knew best: provide a good quality service to those we can reach and let that speak for itself.
Our Affiliate is family oriented and down to earth, looking at the big picture. A unique fact about me is that my main job is a counselor and ABA therapist; fitness is my other passion, so I just got to combine my two loves into one space.
The partnership between myself and my husband in how we see things and the needs of running a business and supporting our community. Kyle has done so much to make this start from the ground up and then again when we moved locations in 2015 to where we are now. He is the hands-on guy, making all the little things fall into place.
The other people I have to give credit to are of course all of our trainers because without them we wouldn’t be what we are.
Then there is Dave Grecco who helped build both of our locations. Ryan Oakley, Lori Smith Kenworthy, Christy Coleman and all of their hours they contributed to help build, rebuild, renovate and create. We also have several trainers that are not with us anymore as they have moved away and without them, we wouldn’t have been able to grow the way we have over the past eight years. I guess to sum it up: our community of trainers, Coaches and contractors have all helped us get to where we are, and we are forever thankful for that.
Having a strong team of Coaches/trainers you trust and work well with is essential to not only running your business but maintaining your sanity as an owner. It is also important that if you have a team of people you trust, utilize those people and delegate responsibilities.
Our kids program has been running strong since 2014; we have several adult members that started in our kid program when it first started. I believe it is because the kids watch their parents workout and want to be like them — kuddos to the parents. Or the kids work out and then their parents want to do something with them so they join. Either way it happens, it is a win because families get fit, healthy and strong together all while developing relationships with other like-minded people. Our kids program also is an opportunity for kids of all ages, abilities, and needs to come together and build their confidence. Even through the shutdown, the kids continued to show up and participate through our online Zoom sessions. I think my background as a child therapist and a behavior analyst gives me an advantage for truly understanding children’s developmental needs on multiple levels, allowing me to connect with them and to help them grow.