Last Friday I trekked the 6 hours South from OH to Apex, NC to meet with Dan Kopitzke and check out a facility we may be sharing soon. The trip went great and if all goes well that’s where I’m going to end up. Here’s the low-down…
I left the Athens, OH area around noon and with only one stop made it to my hotel in Morrisville, NC in just under 6 hours. Since proximity to my wife’s family is one of the major factors in choosing a city to set up shop, the 6 hour drive time worked great considering that it’s easily within a days drive and much closer than the last 2 places we’ve lived. The drive was one of the most scenic road trips I’ve taken on the East coast (tough to beat 17 mile drive in NorCal). The weather was San Francisco like….blue skies, 55-60 degrees, and cool evenings. That’s a nice change from the 20-30 degree weather we had been getting in OH. When I arrived I picked up a quick dinner from Smithfield’s Chicken & BBQ (a little disapointing if you ask me) and then had a great meeting with Jonas Sahratian, the Men’s Basketball Strength Coach at UNC. We had a great visit and chatted for several hours. We’d corresponded via email before but this was the first time we had met. Jonas is really sharp and has spent a lot of time studying under some great coaches both in and out of the strength and conditioning field. That meeting set the tone for the rest of my trip as it got me pretty amped to see that there were similarly passionate ‘athletic developers’ in the area who I could collaborate with. Needless to say, I had dificulty sleeping that night and probably didn’t get to bed until around 4am….30-60 minutes later than usual.
The next morning I drove in to Apex to meet Dan and check out the facility. He’s currently occupying about 3200 sqft of a 6000 sqft building. The plan was to chat about how we could work together and I could move in to the other side of the building (which is currently just being used for storage). He had done a great job with his half of the facility and was turning profits and building client base after only a couple months of being in business. Our meeting was great and we actually spend almost the entire day together. Other than a 2 hour block where he had lessons to give, we talked shop (and more) from 10am til around midnight. In fact, Dan and his girlfriend Natalie actually invited me over to a family dinner. This went great, made me feel ‘at home’ and gave me a nice opportunity to meet some very friendly locals. Sunday morning, I went over to Ulmstead State Park to take a little run. The park system in the area seems amazing and something I’ll be sure to take advantage of. After taking care of some client training I headed back to OH with much to think about.
Right now, I’m all set to move down. The area is great and I can tell the quality of life will be excellent. Weather is decent enough year round to get the job done by training outside for 95% of the year. The airport checked out as good (close to get to, not so big that you have NY metro airport delays, lots of daily flights) which is important since I fly about 30 times a year and am eventually expecting athletes to be coming in for training camps. The overall population is among the most highly educated per capita in the U.S. which means higher disposable income, appreciation of a science-based training program, and lots of resources for collaboration. I’ve got connections set up at UNC, Wake Forest, and Duke and I’ve found a good therapist for the elite training group I’m looking to set up. What am I waiting for? I’m waiting to hear back from the landlord of the facility that he’s willing to open up the other half of the building for rent at the same cost he’s renting to Dan. As soon as I get the green light on that, I’ll be packing my bags to head down, buying equipment for the facility, and preparing to rock-n-roll. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.