I think that sometimes I look back on the first nine years of business here at RevFit and the picture is very clear. I am cognizant of the victories, the struggles, the days it felt like we could do no wrong and the days it felt I could get none of it right. Most business owners could nod their head in agreement because in many ways, you could experience all of those things in the span of one business day.
And while I could reminisce over the lessons I’ve learned over these nine years, I wanted to take time to give credit to people who you have either heard me mention frequently or maybe not frequently enough.
I’ll start here: my Grandmother. It was my maternal Grandmother, who, after losing my Grandfather (her husband) and my uncle (her youngest son), she gifted me with some rental property that the family owned in my hometown. Being not remotely handy, I poured as much money into those properties as I made. I had to essentially do a fire sale to get rid of them and sell them to someone more capable of the upkeep. I used half of that money to fund my business. When I opened my doors in Hudson, Ohio in May of 2009, I was flat broke and I knew no one. It was my Grandmother’s generosity that literally helped fund the opening of Revolution Fitness and Therapy.
Which leads me to the next person I need to highlight: Amanda Carlin Montigney. Amanda and her then husband Al, owned a business in the same plaza where I opened mine. When I went to introduce myself to all of the other tenants, Amanda was the first person to say “I’ll be your first client!” In December of the same year, I would take her daughter out for a “not-so” date. That same daughter is now my wife. More on her later.
There have been three local business owners who I can say wholeheartedly have helped shape me into the business owner I am today. I have leaned on them for business advice, mentoring and friendship over these years. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Robert Ault of Ault Chiropractic, Jackie Wolf of Stillpoint Massage and Kristie Warner of Gavin Scott Salon & Spa. You know, without hesitation, what your friendships have meant to me over these years. I love all of you and I am so grateful we have all crossed paths.
I of course have to give an affectionate nod to our current roster of clients. Whether you know it or not, you each make me take a look at this business that “we” have created and ask myself almost daily: “Is this the best business it can be for all of you?” Because I am profoundly self-critical, I would say “No, it has so much more potential.” But we all make this business churn, burn and come to life 6 days out of 7 every week. I am so grateful for your patronage, your friendships that we have built along the way and to those of you who have been so gracious as to allow me to share the pictures of your amazing achievements with the world. I thank you for letting me use your story to inspire others with theirs.
I am also sincerely grateful to everyone who, for any reason whatsoever, has decided that this business was not the right fit for them. It would be foolish of me to think it would ever be the best for everyone but I am so appreciative of the time you gave us to work with you so that upon your departure, I could take the lessons of that experience to determine “How do we improve on this in the future?”
Along the way, I decided to do this crazy thing like starting a podcast (Revolutionary You!) which little by little, took the RevFit message from Northeast Ohio and with the help of some truly amazing people, has managed to spread internationally.
Which leads me to the next round of people I need to give credit to. None of whom, I have actually met in person as of the writing of this article. I need to thank people (in no particular order) like Patrick Umphrey, Meghan Callaway, Leigh Peele, Sumi Singh, Tom McDonald, Pat Flynn, Briana Theroux, Heather Robertson, Rafal Matuszewski, and Julie Tussey. In many ways, you have all believed in me, my message and whatever inspiration I can convey and helped me spread it to others. They say “It Takes A Village.” I am in your debt for being MY village. I see the way each of you take time out of your day to inspire others and I am humbled to be a part of that.
Over these years, I have watched my competition, if you will, essentially double in this area. Some people look at this as a bad thing. I don’t. I think the public needs options for where they can transform their lives. I think there is a perfect environment for everyone. Sadly, many of these competitors have not remained in business. I think that’s a shame. I never want to see someone fail at anything because, just like me, that business was someone’s dream, someone’s livelihood. So, I again have to thank all of you for allowing me to be an exception to the rules of opening a small business. To be able to not only stay in business this long but to continue to see growth year after year is a mind-boggling achievement that could not be done simply because I wanted it.
I have to credit my staff of Megan Winiarski, Julie Boehringer and Mike Roder for being my support, my eyes and ears and my team to help me keep the gears spinning here. You have given me every opportunity to help me build this little RevFit monster into something sustainable. Your energy, your commitment to the clientele and your camaraderie have been invaluable to me.
To my family: My wife, my mother, my two beautiful boys, I do this all for you. If I were to leave this world tomorrow, I’ll know that I worked my ass off to not only provide but to encourage and inspire. I know that it hasn’t been easy watching me work 60-70 hours a week on average for the last nine years. I love what I do and I want to see my clients succeed more than I can express.
What started as a little fitness studio has nearly tripled in size from our humble beginnings. We began in Hudson, Ohio in a little commercial office space that was right around 1000 sq. ft. We had a failed attempt at opening a second location in the fall of 2011 and shut it down by fall of 2012. By the end of 2012, we relocated and expanded into neighboring Stow, Ohio to a space over double the size of where we started. This gave us more room to expand our services and the potential of our clientele. Late last year, we relocated and expanded yet again staying in Stow to a space over 3500 sq. ft. And with the addition of our online training services where we can train people nationally and internationally, we are bigger, bolder and (thankfully) more visible than ever.
Literally thousands of pounds have been lost with our clients over these nine years, not to mention the tens of thousands of pounds that have been pressed, pulled, benched and curled by some of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the honor of sharing so much quality time with. I thought we’d always be good at weight loss but it turns out we’re pretty damn good at making people strong too.
If there’s one phrase I’ve heard repeatedly over the years it would be some version of this:
“I never thought I’d be able to do this.”
And that’s the true magic of the relationship. We believe in you. We believe in your goals. We believe in your success. We are willing to put forth the effort to get you there as long as you put the effort back.
Thank you, all of you, for giving us the greatest gift any small business could ask for: a growing clientele, great results, an amazing community and your continued referrals helping us thrive all these years.
We are only here because you’ve allowed us to be. I am so very grateful for that.
And if I ever needed more motivation to continue to make this business the best it can be, I look no further than the picture below.