No Pain, No Gain
Joe Genova, BSBA Business Management ’06
Founder, Prestige Fitness
It’s a tough time to start a business, but that didn’t stop Eller grad Joe Genova, who just launched a high-end fitness center in Tucson.
Genova and his business partner, UA physiology graduate Ron Yousfenjad, began working on the launch in June 2008. “Fitness has been a passion of mine my whole life,” explains Genova. It was a passion he shared with Yousfenjad, whose seven years working in the industry gave the team valuable expertise. “Last summer we decided to make it happen,” Genova says. They began working on a business plan, but their quest for funding started just as the economy began its nosedive.
“All the banks denied us — local and national,” Genova says. “Every time, we’’ say, ‘What will it take?’ — and then we’d go back to the business plan and work on it some more.” Throughout, Genova and Yousfenjad hosted seminars and boot camps, building up their future clientele.
This fall, they launched Prestige Fitness in central Tucson. Their first two weeks alone, they signed 200 members — thanks to all their pre-opening activities — and their five personal trainers have a growing client list as well.
Genova’s persistence is in his blood — straight out of college, the Tucson native went to work for his family’s printing company, which has served the community for 17 years. “Through the printing business, I developed a lot of resources and contacts in town,” he explains. Because of Yousfenjad’s industry experience, he was able to form a solid team of personal trainers and loyal following of clients that believed in him.
Both partners searched far and wide to identify sources of funding, including the Small Business Administration. In addition to funding the space and the buildout, they also had to fund the trade equipment to outfit the space. “That was a battle all in itself,” Genova says, “But we kept going.”
Genova says the equipment they were able to purchase yields better results than that used in “big box” gyms. “We perform advanced health assessments to educate each individual on his or her own body,” he says. “Then we develop customized workout regimes and nutritional guides to meet their goals.”
Now that they’ve launched, Genova says they’re off to a good start. “We need 300 members to sustain the company, along with our other sources of revenue,” he says. “We ask ourselves, are we crazy for opening in a time like this? Maybe not. People are starving for work, landlords are tired of empty buildings. People do have money, and we need to provide a superior service so they want to spend it with us.”