Athletic Gaines, a training program specializing in basketball and sports performance, has made its way to Edina, Minnesota. Founded by a well-known trainer of football and basketball pros Travelle Gaines, the program operates two training gyms in California. The new local facility, Athletic Gaines Minnesota, opened its doors in April. We chatted with our clients, brothers Brian and Mark Haukoos, who own and operate the Edina facility, to see how the business is going.
Is this your first foray into athletic training business?
Brian: Yes, it’s our first jump into the business. We were both athletes growing up, but prior to opening Athletic Gaines, we had worked in the corporate world. But we had always talked about working in the sports industry. It was our kids that spurred us to take the decisive step.
Mark: At the end of March of last year, Brian texted me, saying his daughter was looking for a place to practice her basketball on a consistent basis rather than shooting hoops in one community center or another. So we brainstormed ideas on how to create a place more conducive to youth athletic training and began to develop business plans. Through networking, we met Travelle Gaines and started that relationship. So everything snowballed from a text message to where we are today.
Did the pandemic get in the way of setting things in motion?
Brian: I think it actually helped us, in terms of timing. It took us nine months to find the right location, which is not an easy task, considering the required ceiling heights and other parameters. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of competition for real estate during the pandemic, especially for larger facilities like this one – so this also played into our hands. Before our arrival, Batting Cages of Minnesota was next door, with Nevers Larking Baseball academy occupying our current location. Batting Cages shut down during the pandemic; Nevers Larking wanted to move into a larger space, and that move opened up this location, which worked out perfectly for us.
Mark: Our initial plan was to open in October 2020, but then came another round of COVID–related restrictions. That gave us the time to complete the installation of the parquet floors, the hoops, and all the other finishing touches. The lifting of the restrictions in May was a boost – people don’t like training in masks, and we don’t really have capacity limits or many other restrictions. By then, we were ready to roll. So COVID gave us the time to market the business and get our name out there.
What types of clients do you train?
Brian: It’s everything from youth to pro players. Right now basketball accounts for a lot of the training we do. But the performance training side – speed, agility, strength – is sport-agnostic, so we’ve got soccer players, baseball players, and other types of athletes.
Are you happy with the numbers of new clients signing on right now?
Brian: Yes, it’s definitely ramping up going into the summer. One downside might have been that we opened up right towards the end of the basketball season for a lot of kids, so that part got off to a slow start. But based on trends now we are where we need to be. Obviously, we are new to this business and were not really sure what to expect in terms of ramp-up time. But now we’re beginning to hit our stride.
Mark: We are also seeing more adult clients, who are done with big-box facilities and want more personalized training that helps them overcome the post-pandemic effects of being huddled in front of computers, fix their posture and improve their overall athleticism.
To find out more about Athletic Gaines Minnesota and the programs it offers, visit their website.