Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Maragh.
Hi Andrew, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Fitness has always been a part of my life between playing soccer, football, and wrestling. I was always active in sports. After graduating high school, I enlisted in the Army, and fitness was a part of my every day. After leaving the military, I remained active in the local YMCA. In 2010 I was introduced to CrossFit Homestead (now Bolt Fitness) by a friend, Michelle Bustos, and met Coach and owner Samantha Seco. I immediately fell in love with the intensity and variety of workouts, and I knew I could never go back to a “regular” gym after that. In 2011 we moved to St. Cloud, where there were no CrossFit gyms. I started working out in my garage, and after talking with Coach Samantha about not having any CrossFit gyms in St. Cloud, we brainstormed ideas to open one up here. After getting denied a business loan, I decided to start small in my garage. One of the bank loan officers, Hyzen Marc, decided to come to try out CrossFit and was one of our first members in the garage. After about one year in our garage, our neighbor complained and threatened to report us to the HOA about people working out in our driveway and on the sidewalks. This was the push I needed to realize it was time to look for an actual facility to open. I then got a 900 sqft—a warehouse with brand new but minimal equipment. Our clientele grew exponentially. We found ourselves working out not only in that warehouse but also in the parking lot. Within six months of opening, I had the opportunity to knock down a wall and get another 900 sqft unit, so I jumped on it. After a year, I got another 900 sqft. unit and again knocked down another wall. I continually reinvested in the business by slowing purchasing new equipment as our clientele grew. After three years in our 2700 sqft gym, I found us needing more space again. The two warehouses just adjacent to us were opening up and I was able to get another 1800 sqft of floor space to fit the needs of our growing fitness family. Fast Forward to the present, we are close to 5000 sqft with over a 100 plus members and still growing.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think that starting small and growing with our clientele really helped make the road to opening a business a smooth one and minimized a lot of headaches and growing pains that come with owning a small business. It’s not easy, by any means, but very rewarding and worth it.
We’ve been impressed with Soldier City Fitness, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Soldier City Fitness is a functional fitness gym that offers a great variety of workouts in a welcoming, family-oriented atmosphere. We help people achieve their goals, both physically and mentally, byways of working out in a stress-free environment. Many of our reviews comment on our knowledgeable coaches (Jess, Whitney, and Jason, Angie), our attention to detail, the compassion we provide all our members, and the patience we have every day. I have built a brand that is recognizable and associated with high-quality coaching/training, equipment, family, friends, and a judgment-free safe place where people can get away from their everyday world. I want the readers to know that we offer services that are inclusive to all ages and fitness levels. All workouts can be customized to one’s fitness level.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
My advice is that it’s ok to start small. You don’t have to put yourself in a huge amount of debt just to start a successful business. Don’t chase just the money; genuinely care about the people you are serving. If you do things right and treat people right, the money will come. I think a great article that helped me when starting was “The Broken Window Theory.”
- 2x a week package for $65
- 3x a week package for $85
- unlimited $110
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