Nov 20, 2018
Athlete as Club Owner: Sam Heaps Knocks it Out of the Park as TITLE Boxing Club Franchisee
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Sam Heaps is experiencing both a winning season and a rebuilding year in 2018. But, it isn’t anything he can’t handle.
A former baseball player, Sam and his sister Katie Carski were named Franchisees of the Year recently because two of the four TITLE Boxing Club locations they own rank No. 6 and No. 11 in the top quartile of the TITLE Boxing Club system, and because they “operate with a premium mindset and adhere to company values.”
“That ranking is exciting, which shows our work is really paying off,” Sam said.
They’re beginning to see the payoff of taking over their third club in Virginia, which they acquired in November 2017. It was ranked in the bottom quartile at the start of 2018, but through determination and team development, Sam and Kate are turning it into a winner. It’s like taking a baseball team through a rebuilding year, Sam said. Today, that club has moved up in the standings, to the middle of the pack, and continues to improve.
“We had to analyze it and identify where the opportunities to improve are and capitalize on them,” he said. “It’s the same thing that happens on baseball teams. I’ve been on good and bad teams, and you can always practice or train more to get better.”
By applying his baseball experience, Sam – along with Katie – will improve the performance of the club.
“We’re turning that club into a success story and plan on seeing it make money by the beginning of 2019”
Sam is a prime example of how current and former athletes, at any level, can apply their experience seamlessly to become successful TITLE Boxing Club franchisees. Here is his story:
From Baseball to Boxing
Sam pitched and played first base in high school and at Elizabethtown College, before pitching briefly in the Frontier League, an independent professional baseball league.
Sam had a successful college career with the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays, before he signed with the Normal (Ill.) CornBelters, earning Commonwealth Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2008 and 2009. By the time he graduated, he had a 24-11 record and a 3.06 earned run average in 46 games, in which he was the starting pitcher for 40 games. He also had 246 strikeouts in 264 2/3 innings pitched, a school record.
Sam was also a strong hitter. He finished his college career with a .362 batting average, two homeruns, 87 runs batted in, 121 hits, 89 runs scored, 63 walks and 28 stolen bases.
He received offers to play in other independent leagues while with the CornBelters, but decided to enter the business world instead.
“I saw that playing Major League Baseball probably wasn’t in my future, so I decided to move on to something else,” Sam said. “But, I used those baseball experiences – failures and successes – to help me with business. I definitely learned a lot.”
Sam took what he learned from his playing days and applied them to business ownership.
In 2012, he opened a TITLE Boxing Club with Katie in Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C. Operating as a team, the siblings opened another and bought two existing clubs to become multi-unit franchise owners.
Although Sam had never owned a business before, he found the tireless work ethic as an athlete and team work from playing baseball fit well with owning TITLE Boxing Club studios with his sister.
“In baseball, we’d have 5 a.m. practices and intense conditioning drills,” Sam said. “Every day in the summer, it’s never-ending practices or games. Having that mindset, it doesn’t bother me to work 14 days in a row or 12-hour days. The grind of baseball prepared me for the amount of work it took to get our first two clubs off the ground.”
In his playing days, Sam was a leader and designated a co-captain for his teams. Barking out orders was not his way. Instead, he favored working with his teammates, which is what he does with the staff at his clubs.
“I prefer to lead by example rather than be a boss,” he said. “I don’t like to tell people what to do, but I prefer to show them what they should be doing to help benefit the team in business. Your team has to be great in order to be successful.”
Ultimately, he added, “it made sense for me to get involved with a fitness franchise.”
A Franchise that Fits
It makes sense for athletes of all stripes to pursue becoming a TITLE Boxing Club franchisee. Sam points out the following ways owning a TITLE Boxing Club is similar to participating in sports:
- You get to lead a team – but it’s a team you assemble by hiring a manager and trainers. You can also lead your club members through boxing, kickboxing or mixed martial arts workouts.
“There’s nothing more fun than that,” Sam said.
- You control your success – In sports, it’s up to each athlete to determine how well they’ll perform in competition. As a business owner, you determine how successful your business will perform every day.
“What you put into TITLE Boxing Club,” Sam said, “is what you’ll get out of it.”
To learn more about becoming a TITLE Boxing Club franchise partner, visit titleboxingclub.com.