Most people would probably be content with owning and operating 17 profitable businesses. Luckily for the town of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, multi-unit franchisee Aaron Davis isn’t like most people.
At 15-years-old, Davis started his first job at his local Little Caesars working as a prep cook. He may not have realized back then, but that job would later chart the course for his career in the decades to come. After his grandfather opened a Little Caesars franchise of his own in Detroit, Davis eventually took over the reins in 2006. Today, more than 10 years later, he’s the proud owner of 17 successful Little Caesars Pizza restaurants throughout Upstate South Carolina, where he oversees as many as 400 employees.
But, like a true entrepreneur, Davis was still hungry for something more. After saturating the South Carolina market with Little Caesars locations, he wanted to grow his portfolio. This time, though, he was ready to try something different.
“I was looking at fast casual options, but something about that just didn’t feel right. I love pizza, but I wanted to shift into something I’m truly passionate about,” Davis said. “Fitness has always been an important part in my life ever since college, and it occurred to me that, due to my experience in franchising, I could parlay that into a rewarding career, too—one that would also give me the kind of portfolio diversification that I was after.”
That’s when Davis learned about a WORKOUT ANYTIME franchisee that was selling three of his locations in Greenville, South Carolina. And while he never did purchase those gyms, that opportunity sparked Davis’ newfound interest in the brand.
“This was an opportunity to offer a top-tier product at a great price to my community. But even more than that, it was a chance to start a new business that helps to change people’s lives,” Davis said. “That’s when I decided to open a WORKOUT ANYTIME location and shape my own reputation with the brand. This was also a great opportunity to stay local and keep my hands in the Little Caesers business.”
Making a trip down to Georgia to meet with WORKOUT ANYTIME’s corporate team helped to officially seal the deal for Davis. And on January 16, 2017, he opened the doors to his new location in Boiling Springs.
“I was blown away by the support structure from the corporate team. In franchising, I like the fact that you’re a business owner but you don’t feel like you’re on an island by yourself. The corporate team wants the owner to succeed as bad as the owner wants to succeed. The franchise always has your best interest at heart. When running and managing a WORKOUT ANYTIME, you don’t feel alone,” said Davis.
Nearly six months have passed since Davis’ grand opening, and his gym is already off to a strong and profitable start with more than 2,000 members. Davis credits WORKOUT ANYTIME’s process of finding and securing real estate for helping him get ahead before his doors even opened.
“I’ve handled about a dozen leases over the course of my franchising career. But I’ve never had someone go to bat for me the way that WORKOUT ANYTIME’s team did,” Davis said. “The brand connected me with one of their preferred brokers, and from day one she worked harder than anyone I’ve ever worked with. Her knowledge of WORKOUT ANYTIME’s concept and the real estate market allowed me to ink the perfect deal. The entire experience was first class from beginning to end.”
Davis isn’t the only WORKOUT ANYTIME franchisee who has successfully made the leap from food to fitness. Trey Hornsby is a multi-unit franchisee for Zoe’s Kitchen. But when the brand went public two years ago, he feared his stores would eventually be bought back. That forced him to rethink his direction. Today, Hornsby is the owner of a WORKOUT ANYTIME in Bardstown, Kentucky. And according to Randy Trotter, the senior vice president of development for WORKOUT ANYTIME, there are a handful of other franchisees who brought their food industry experience to the brand, too.
“Aaron and Trey are great examples of franchisees who just get it. As a multi-unit and multi-brand franchisees, they understand that they’re buying a business that has a playbook, and by following it, they’re able to be very successful,” Trotter said. “There’s a reason so many other franchisees with similar backgrounds have found success when diversifying their portfolio with WORKOUT ANYTIME—every part of WORKOUT ANYTIME’s concept is incredibly well thought out. From the support of our corporate team to our real estate selection process, we make sure each franchisee—no matter their background—is set up to best execute our proven system.”