Ryan Troutman, a dedicated fitness enthusiast residing in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, transitioned from a nine-year career as a sales consultant at Jim Beam to pursue his passion for fitness and personal training. His lifelong commitment to working out and experience training clients fueled his decision to become an entrepreneur. Ryan’s journey is rooted in a deep-seated love for fitness and a desire to create a positive, feel-good environment for his community. His expertise, coupled with a profound understanding of the fitness industry, led him to establish Fitness Factory, a testament to his unwavering commitment to personal training and fostering a welcoming gym atmosphere.
Launching Fitness Factory came with its set of challenges. Ryan sought to revitalize an existing gym, implementing changes to the classes, equipment, and the personality of the gym. Overcoming loan rejections and navigating the complexities of starting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic posed additional obstacles. Despite initial struggles, Fitness Factory witnessed an increase in memberships through strategic updates, such as upbeat classes and specialized equipment. The SBDC provided crucial support in decision-making, cost analysis, and legal compliance, ensuring a smooth transition into business ownership.
As Fitness Factory began to thrive, its success was attributed to the collaborative efforts of various entities. The Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), particularly Business Consultants Chelsea Blair and Tom Keiffer, offered invaluable guidance in overcoming obstacles related to costs, member rates, and decision-making to become more profitable. Recommendations to join the Chamber of Commerce and connections to the Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic further enriched Ryan’s journey.
Ryan first learned about the SBDC through a past connection in Lock Haven. The process from business planning to launch commenced in September 2021, with SBDC’s support streamlining legal compliance, decision-making, and operational aspects. The SBDC’s consulting played a pivotal role in helping Ryan navigate the challenges of business ownership, especially in areas where his expertise was limited.
Fitness Factory’s impact on the community is evident in its positive atmosphere and contribution to the well-being of its members. Ryan’s dedication to the gym and its diverse offerings has resulted in increased sales and a growing customer base. With a team of personal trainers and front desk staff, Fitness Factory has become a community hub that goes beyond traditional gym services.
The success of Fitness Factory is reflected not only in financial gains but also in the positive influence it’s had on Ryan’s life. The freedom to do what he loves every day has been personally fulfilling. The gym’s role is to provide a healthy outlet for the broader community’s well-being.
Ryan expressed, “While success might have been achievable independently, the Penn State SBDC significantly accelerated the journey, instilled confidence in crucial decision-making, and played a key role in Fitness Factory’s achievement.”