Tomorrow I’m heading back to North Carolina. This time however may be more than the visit that I took 3 weeks ago to check out a facility and discuss a potential partnership. When I left 3 weeks ago, it seemed like things were finally moving along and I’d be setup ‘any day now.’ I had looked up the facility on google maps and couldn’t stop thinking about what I wanted to do with it.
But as I’ve mentioned a couple times in my previous entries, I’ve kinda been in a holding pattern since that visit. The property that I had originally looked at was in the process of changing hands as I understand it, and a lease contract restructuring was being worked out with the new owner and my potential partner / colleague. The problem was, so much time was passing that I was getting antsy and kinda worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get in the facility at all. So I started looking at Plan Bs. I checked out other properties that might work. While they were no where near the bargain that the original place was they would still work as a startup location. I’m confident people will come regardless of what it looks like. I also started thinking about more creative alternative options, some of which didn’t even involve having a facility to start off with.
Then last night I spoke with Dan (the potential partner) and he mentioned that the plans for the facility and our partnership may have changed such that we wouldn’t be fully partnering and I would actually be sub-leasing from him rather than co-leasing as a single entity or directly leasing from the owner. While, I’m actually perfectly ok with both of these options the change in plans with the facility and the newly confirmed uncertainty of the situation gave me the extra nudge to act on some of the alternative options that I had thought up while I was in the holding pattern.
So last night at 2am, I contacted two major sports / fitness facilities in the triangle area. I had done a lot of research and these facilities were specifically selected because they weren’t globo-gym-esque and they were both huge facilities that might be ameniable to what I wanted to do. I was really just seeing if they’d be interested in leasing a small part (1,200-2,000 sqft) of their monstrous facilities out to me and potentially using HPC as a 3rd party provider of training services. This isn’t unprecedented as another prominent athletic development company has been doing this at the Home Depot center in L.A. for some time.
Within 7 hours, the manager of the bigger and better of the 2 facilities had emailed and called 3 times interested in some type of partnership. What’s more exciting than the opportunity to use this potential facility is just how enthusiastic the general manager was. We spoke for about a half hour and we are on the same page with what we want to do. In fact, he is in the process of rebranding the facility and they have a large infusion of money for expansion to make it a premiere athletic development, medical, and sport science center.
So tomorrow, I head back down to North Carolina, this time a little less certain what the future holds but a little more excited about how many options are on the table. I’m packed and mentally prepared to stay for a couple weeks to get things situated enough to where I can get an apartment to live in and bring my wife and daughter down when things get settled. Thursday morning I have a meeting with the general manager of the big facility and we’re going to have some meetings with some of his investors. On Friday, I’m meeting with the owner of the other facility. I don’t know what’s in store but this should be interesting. Six months ago, I resigned from coaching at West Point to finish writing my dissertation and pursue development of my company full time. At the time I thought that my resignation was the blind “leap” in to the deepend that entrepreneurs mention as an all-important threshold. Now I realize that that was just putting on my swim trunks. Tomorrow I take the leap and hope that there’s water in the pool.