Creating a thriving program is often the impetus for starting an all-star cheer gym—but what happens when that accomplishment generates considerable demand? Many business owners answer the call for expansion and go on to open multiple locations. To learn more about this approach, CheerProfessional asked three gym owners who took the leap and expanded based on their own initial success. Learn how the Stingrays tackle the challenge while maintaining the integrity of their brand.
Expansion Case Study #1: Stingray Cheer Company, Inc.
Locations: 4 (Georgia and Alabama)
Combined Number of Athletes: 1500+
Casey Jones, owner of Stingray Cheer Company, Inc., talks about his gym’s growth to meet the needs of the community and his staff.
CP: Tell us about the various Stingrays locations.
Jones: We now have four locations including our new gym in Alabama, which will open in May 2014. The other three locations are in Georgia—Marietta and Johns Creek, as well as one overflow gym in Kennesaw.
CP: How do you typically split your time between locations?
Jones: Right now I work at two locations—Marietta and Kennesaw—because that’s where I live. I go to Johns Creek one day a week. We haven’t taken over the Alabama location yet so there hasn’t been a need for me to travel there.
Jones: We started in Marietta, and before opening any additional locations, we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could there. But we had maxed out our space and it was time to grow.
CP: Was it a function of supply-and-demand, too? How did expansion into Alabama come into play?
Jones: Our All-Star program grew by 200 kids with Johns Creek so we decided to open Kennesaw as overflow. Kennesaw is only five miles away from the Marietta facility; they really function as one gym. Alabama was different—we had a long relationship with the gym there, so we partnered with them before taking over entirely.
CP: What do you perceive as the main risk when it comes to expansion?
Jones: The biggest risk is growing too quickly. You have to have the resources to service the locations (resources being time, funding and staffing). If you don’t, it’s best not to do it at all. For us, I look at the demographics of an area and the population. How many kids are there? How many schools? Is there opportunity to work with the school system, which in turn will feed our all-star programs? But overall, [my advice is to] grow slow and expand when you have to. I’m conservative: as I’ve gotten older in the industry, I just don’t want to chance it [failing at business].
CP: What makes Stingray Cheer Company so successful?
Jones: We wanted to offer a great product and now, with our growth, we are able to offer more people access to Stingray Cheer. We also wanted to provide career opportunities for our instructors and employees; our growth creates that for them.