Buying New vs Buying an Established Gym, Corey of Brodie Park Crossfit Discusses His Decision

Good morning Fringe fam. It's Peter Keller here, again from FringeSport, and I am talking today with Corey Hart, of Brodie Park CrossFit. Good morning, Corey. How you doing?

Corey Hart: Good morning. I'm doing well. Thanks for having me.

It's a pleasure to have you on. Now, in the pre-show, before I started recording, we were talking a little bit about Brodie Park and about your history, so you bought Brodie Park CrossFit recently. Is that right?

Corey Hart: Yeah, I bought it about a year and a half ago.

Before we delve into your specific history, is there a reason that you bought versus maybe starting fresh?

Corey Hart:  I think the main reason was it was actually a box that I had attended, that I was a regular member at, so I'd gotten to know the owner quite well, and it was a community that meant a lot to me, what it was able to do for my life and how it affected me personally. And, the owner was looking to move on to another business venture, and the opportunity was there, and it was a way for me to both quickly move into an already established business with a name and a reputation, as well as continue the community aspect of the gym, which I did not want to see disappear, because that was something very near and dear to me.

Awesome. I love it. That sounds great. Well, let's now refocus a little bit. I'm sure we'll come back to this, but tell us a little bit about your athletic and professional background.

Corey Hart: Sure. So, I think, like a lot of people, I played various sports in high school. I was a pretty good athlete. I played soccer, football, ran track, all the good things, basketball, and I actually played some collegiate soccer for a time. I actually ended up hurting my back when I was in my early 20s, and physically got out of shape, wasn't able to exercise. I actually ended up needing to have back surgery, and that's where I kind of fell back into CrossFit.

From a professional area, I'm a glorified computer nerd. I grew up around computers. I had the luxury of going to college and getting a computer science degree. I'm currently employed with General Motors, as a senior IT architect, so designing computer systems for General Motors. And that's what I've been doing for the last five years and most of my career.

I love it. So, that brings up an interesting topic. You bought into the gym. How active are you in the management and kind of day-to-day of running the gym, since you have, it sounds like, a 9:00 to 5:00?

Corey Hart: That's right, I do have a 9:00 to 5:00. I'm fairly active. So when it comes to definitely all of the back office pieces, I'm responsible for all of that, billing, and membership options, the web. We do have a head coach, but we work very closely together to work on programming and how the gym is laid out and ran. I clean the floors on the weekends. I'm still very active in trying to be as hands-on as I can, but at the same time having a reliable coaching staff and head coach that I can lean on quite a bit for the day-to-day operations of running classes and coaching.

Got it, and thank you for sharing that. Going back to kind of the purchase, how rocky was the transition from the old management to you stepping in? Was that an easy process or do you think that that was difficult?

Corey Hart: In my particular case, it was actually quite easy, mostly because I had been obsessed with it for several years. I had already helped the previous owner out. Like I said, we had grown a friendship together. You know, if a toilet broke at the gym, I was someone who would offer up and help out. So, I was fairly familiar with the business backend. Then luckily, doing research and understanding what it takes to actually buy a business ahead of time, and having all that work done ahead of time, made the transition really seamless and really quite easy.

Well I'm glad to hear that. So something that you had mentioned before the interview is that you guys are only doing a single membership option. Can you talk to me a little bit about that? And you had even, forcefully in the pre-interview, said that you think that a lot of boxes should go to this. Is that right?

Corey Hart: Yeah. One of the very first things that I did was completely flatten out the membership rate to have a single membership option, and the reason why I think that's important and key is I think a lot of boxes have all of these different kind of menu options that you can pull from. Whether you go three days a week, three times a month, you pay this, or you go two times a week for six months, you pay this, and I think it's actually a barrier that keeps a lot of people from coming into CrossFit, because they're used to seeing a simplified menu of options when they go to Orangetheory, or when they go to 24 Hour Fitness.

Then, the other thing that it does is it also leads to people wanting to continually negotiate on your pricing, right? So they see all these different flexible options that are confusing, and so it gets people to ask questions. "Well hey, what if I only do this? Can I just pay this amount?" And it's something that is problematic in our industry, because one, across the board, everybody has a different pay rate, which is great, but it creates this undue competitiveness across CrossFit boxes, as well as within the gym itself. It can be one of those things that, "Well, Jill over here is paying $55 for the same service that Bob over here, and he's paying $150," and those things get around and eventually erode your community.

So, it's just a way to say, "We're all on the same playing field. We're all getting the same services," and everybody is up front and clear about what services are available to them under that single payer option.

It sounds really logical. One question that I would have, though, on that is there are a lot of boxes that also have, let's say a weekly weightlifting class, or a weekly gymnastics class, or something like that. Is that something that you guys do at all, or would even consider doing with this payment structure that you're doing now?

Corey Hart: Yeah, absolutely. We have a Olympic lifting class. We have a powerlifting class. We have yoga. We have mobility. And it's all wrapped up into that one package, so that it's available for everyone. So it makes it accessible to everyone that's there, and it's been nothing but positive feedback. So, I think one of the things that happens is people who go to the CrossFit class know that they can go to a yoga class as part of that membership. It's nothing extra, and it actually breaks down that barrier to possibly keeping them out of that class and finding some other new way to get fit or to stay mobile and healthy. So it's worked quite well.

Wow. Well, I'm surprised to hear that. I was actually expecting you to say that no, you pretty much had one flavor of class, but that's a very broad basket of services, just under that one pricing structure. Have you found any downside to that pricing structure?

Corey Hart: No. I don't think I've found a downside to it, other than occasionally, and it's been very rare when it has happened, because I have a single membership option, right, my rate is high, but not too high, in my personal opinion. So every now and again it is a barrier that somebody who is looking to only maybe go to CrossFit two times a week, and that's all they want to do, that it might keep them away from my particular gym, but on the whole, it's been received very positively, and I think knowing that they have the option to go to those classes is also another one of those kind of mental barriers. I might not ever use it, but I like knowing that it's there and that I could go to it if I chose to. It's one of those psychology things that I've found has been really effective.

Awesome. I love it. Well Corey, this has been really interesting, but believe it or not, we're kind of out of time. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our audience?

Corey Hart: I think the main thing is, with CrossFit, definitely find a box that fits your lifestyle, and your way of thinking, and the way that you like to be coached, because it's a really exciting place to be, and as an owner, it's really great to be able to establish a mentality and a community aspect to your box that fits your needs and what you think your clients want.

I love it. Now, is the best place to find you online at, or is there a better way for them to contact ... for anyone who wants to contact you to contact you?

Corey Hart: Absolutely, our website, is a great place. Facebook, Brodie Park CrossFit. Instagram, @BrodieParkCrossfit. All the social medias, we try to stay fairly active there, but definitely the website is a great place.

I love it. It's going to be a beautiful day in Austin today, so Corey, I hope you're able to get outside today and enjoy it. Thanks for coming on, and for all of our listeners, go lift something heavy today.

Corey Hart: Thank you for having me.

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