In May of 2012, my buddy, Kevin Herrington convinced me to buy a tri bike and start doing triathlons with him. As with running, I jumped in head first. I bought my bike in mid-May, then did 5 tris that season: Old Hickory Sprint, Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic, Nashville Sprint, Fall Creek Falls Olympic and culminating in Augusta Half Ironman end of September.
I had always said that I would do tris if it weren’t for the biking and swimming. It turns out the biking is tons of fun. I worry about crashing. The best way to get over that fear is by doing it. Luckily my crash was with a buddy with a cell phone and there was no oncoming traffic!
In August of 2012, I received a phone call from someone I hadn’t heard from in many months. His name is Jack Jernigan. He told me that he had a friend that was closing down his sports shop and Jack thought of me to possibly buy him out. I had not even fathomed owning a retail store or even that it was a possibility. I told Jack that I would meet with the owner and see what we can work out. When I told my wife, Karyn about it she was strangely not opposed.
I met with Jack and the owner, Todd, at Tin Roof 2. I told Jack before the meeting that the only way for this deal to go down is through “Divine intervention.” I explained that I didn’t have the cash for this deal to go down, so, basically, the only way for it to happen is if God willed it.
I offered Todd my sweat-equity to take over the business learning along the way, working to right the ship, but he was not not interested. It became apparent that he wanted a cash sale. I thanked him for his time and thought that would be the end of it.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the store and how cool it would be to make it the way I wanted it and mold it around my philosophy. I could not get the thought of the store out of my mind. I met with several trusted friends and business leaders in the community to see what they thought. I was also trying to figure out how I was going to raise cash. I knew I need some outside money, but I had no idea where.
Daily I would pray that God would remove this desire from my heart if it was not meant to be. I wanted Him to shut some doors so I knew I could walk away and move on. The doors kept opening. I received an email about a SBA loan seminar. I was dubious at most since I knew SBA wanted you to have two years experience, significant equity, etc. I went anyway to see what they had to say. The presenter was energetic, dynamic and trustworthy. I submitted the one page application just to see what happened and was approved and funded within 30 days! We also had our good friends Joe and Rhonda approach us to let us know they were going to partner with us financially!
I was presented with other opportunities that made the transaction feasible. Todd agreed to a deal on the remaining inventory and our assumption of the lease. We had a fire sale on the leftover inventory and sold out! Not everything was smooth sailing in the dealing, especially when it came to Franklin codes. Friends from church hooked us up with design plans and build-out for a fraction of the cost if we were to hire someone else. The end result was better than I had imagined.