When James Ellis, a retired Navy veteran, came to Tri-County Community College’s (TCCC) Small Business Center (SBC) he had already established The Compound, his fitness facility in Andrews.
Looking toward the future, however, Ellis said he wanted to continue fulfilling his original desire to not only promote his healthy lifestyle, but also to contribute to the revitalization of his community.
In 2015, Ellis came to Kathryn Jenkins, director of TCCC’s SBC, to utilize the free confidential one-on-one counseling offered to local businesses and community members.
“When James first sat down with us, his fully functional fitness facility was targeted more toward a younger, more competitive audience,” Jenkins said. “However, he had identified that he was missing an entire market of older community members who also wanted to participate in improving their fitness levels and be involved with this type of environment.”
Ellis said he wanted to expand his business by adding more staff and equipment to meet the needs of this new demographic.
“We worked together for more than a year, and through the SBC, James managed to secure funding to help the expansion of his business. We also created a business plan looking to boost enrollment and revenue,” Jenkins said.
Through the funding secured in partnership with TCCC’s SBC, Ellis purchased 28 pieces of equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, weightlifting machines and more that would appeal to this new demographic and build his client base.
“For the last few months I’ve had more than 100 active members,” Ellis said, which is more than double the amount of members The Compound had prior to the expansion. “I’ve also been able to arrange bigger events, like the Fourth of July 5K run.”
Ellis said he has also seen an increase in the revenue brought in by his business thanks to the upgrades to the facility.
“The SBC is proud of James’ success, and his role in the beginning of re-growth for Andrews, as well as the part we were privileged to play in helping to make it a reality,” Jenkins said.
For more information on TCCC’s Small Business Center, call (828) 835-9564. To find out more about The Compound, visit thecompoundandrews.org.
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