2020-2021: New Gyms, Closings, And Acquisitions

Discussion in 'Allstar Cheerleading' started by CoachTamara, May 20, 2020.

  1. tuckxandxtwist

    tuckxandxtwist Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    I franchised with a big name program for last season. I live in an area where there are a ton of micro gyms that are mostly founded by parents who don't like where their kid is placed at program X (literally, multiple got their start that way....) or rec coaches who want to get more into competitive programs. Most programs in my area (direct area, within about a 30 minute drive) don't exceed level 3. Occasionally you might get a micro level 4 team (I think the last one prior to this year was a team of 7). Coaches don't get opportunity to develop, and when those kids are ready for progression past level 3, they start driving at least an hour each way to get to a gym 50+ miles from home.

    I have been involved in programs in this area, since it's where I grew up, but I also went away to school to a big city with a TON of programs, and bounced around other parts of the state as an adult in my working career. I've seen a lot of what works and doesn't work at programs. When I got back to this area, I wanted a program where coaches development and athlete development were important, and we could retain the athletes we grew, trained and developed higher than a level 3 team. I knew I wasn't going to be able to be successful as "tuckxandxtwist allstars", even though I know what my business plan, credentials, ability and ideas are, strictly because of the sheer number of micro programs. I knew I needed the big name behind me, and something to really set me apart from the other programs in the area. I'm the only D1 program in my area. The next closest is in a different state, and a solid hour drive minimum without ANY traffic, and that is unlikely in that area. After that, you're looking at a drive upwards of two hours for the next D1 program. There are some other programs near by with some level 4/5/6 teams, but again, it's at least a 45-60 minute drive for almost all of my athletes.

    I found a program that aligned with what I wanted in what I offer, had a solid name to back me up, and would be there for me to utilize and grow with. We opened during covid, had a pretty amazingly successful first season, and have tryouts for season 2 starting tomorrow. We are retaining over 90% of our full year athletes (almost 100% if you didn't include our seniors leaving), growing almost 50% more in our full year program alone, and have seen our kids grow tremendously over the last ten months of being open. It was absolutely the best decision for our program and our location/demographic. That's only my outlook on it though, but figured it was worth sharing the why behind at least one decision (of the hundreds) in franchising lol.
     
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  2. TUMBLR

    TUMBLR They call me Susie

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    Wow this is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your firsthand experience with one of these mergers. I had no idea that the other small gyms in these markets were operating like that.
    Correct me if I’m wrong but it kind of sounds like that old small town trope where people are excited just to have a new McDonalds open up down the street.
    In your case, it serves as a place that all these kids can gather in one gym instead of splitting the talent pool amongst these other smaller gyms. As a result, these athletes get the opportunity to progress beyond what could be offered at their current program. Plus, you get the financial stability of being in a relationship with a larger conglomerate. This sounds like a win-win for everyone. This certainly shifts my perspective a bit on how franchising can impact these areas. Thanks again for the reply!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
  3. tuckxandxtwist

    tuckxandxtwist Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    to be fair, I was not a merger, but a brand new, unaffiliated program when I opened. I didn’t take an old program and change its name. That being said, another local program had just recently announced not having a cheer program for the upcoming season anymore, and most of their athletes and staff came to my program, but again, it was MAYBE 25 kids because it was a micro program. We had athletes from 4ish programs last season, and are pulling from another 6-8 programs for this season.

    people ask all the time “which program do you want to take over first” and that’s absolutely not my goal, and never will be. I don’t want to lose our local competition because that’s what is going to keep us at our best, and we have some great d2 programs relatively close. I just want to provide an opportunity for our athletes and coaches to keep developing and not only be a feeder program for other programs further away, or leave cheer all together because they don’t want the drive.

    ETA - honestly the biggest thing we have to our advantage is the ability to have a large network of opportunities from our other locations. We learn a lot, both cheer and business wise, having other locations in different demographics, have tons of people to bounce ideas off and can call in reinforcements, mentoring, consulting, help, clinics, etc from each other if we wanted. Those kind of opportunities don’t exist for the standard micro gym around here generally without a large price tag, when I basically just have to unlock my phone.
     
  4. cheermomforever

    cheermomforever Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    The thing is what do you really get out of being on "that team" or going to "that gym" in the real world, really nothing. Yes a few will get some $$ towards college, but not like any other full ride sports. Lucky for me, my daughter who is in her 15th? year at the same small gym didnt care about any of that. Great for those parents who have the time to drive and to fulfill a dream that some children have! We love our small gym. We were 5th last year and .05 away from 3rd this year at Worlds. So we are known as the little gym that could and can!!! Heres to next season......
     
  5. Knowcheering

    Knowcheering Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    Yup, every kid is different. Some kids want to be the absolute best they can be and want to be on a great team, just for the sake of trying to reach their full potential, not because it's going to lead to a college scholarship or any financial gain. Collegiate cheer is like a different world and not every kid will want to participate in that, but kids might still have dreams of globing at Worlds or attending a Worlds caliber gym. Other kids don't care as much about that stuff and are fine with however their team does, or they might be more into the social aspect of the sport.

    Your team was very close to top 3 at Worlds, so your gym is doing really well. But for families who spend a lot of money to go to Worlds and come in 23rd in Prelims and don't really have the skill, it can be wearing and can make a bigger name gym more enticing. Some kids are happy just to take a trip to Disney World with their friends and be on the Worlds stage; other kids strive for more. The assumption is that if you're with a bigger name gym, you'll have a better chance of doing well. Sometimes that's the case and sometimes it isn't. "Satellite Gym-Arkansas" isn't going to be a Worlds contender just became "Main Gym-Florida" is, that's not how it works. Every gym/team is different and is made up of different components (athletes, coaches, etc), even if the same name is on the door.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
  6. catlady

    catlady Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    ^^^I think people have been brainwashed to think every business is out to take the competition down, when your mentality is the mindset of every business person I know. Even in Corporate retail we would go to our large competitors, as well as, small businesses and comparison shop. We would introduce ourselves to management and owners, so we could discuss local economy and assortment mix that was and was not working. We all knew to keep each other strong, kept a strong customer population coming back to the mall and that helped everyone.....well, until the internet. On that note, mergers and acquisitions have been demonized and often thought of as hostile takeovers, when in reality it is often the best, or only, way to stop profit margin erosion, save jobs, and not lose a market in a geographic area. I've watched many billion dollar Corps go from booming sales, to struggling margins, and those mergers are their last ditch efforts at life support. I'm very protective of our Corps, because I am very protective of small businesses, they go hand in hand and thank goodness they aren't cookie cutter or they wouldn't meet the needs of all customers.
     
  7. tuckxandxtwist

    tuckxandxtwist Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    exactly. Do I want every kid in the area to want to come to my program? Absolutely. Do I know I’m not the right fit for every kid? You betcha. Without having to find ways to want to make my program better (regarding everything from finances, to uniforms to which competitions we attend) than the one down the street, I’d never develop as a business and eventually grow stagnant.