Jillian Neimeister and Tricia Tortoreti met at a CrossFit gym in 2009 and have been friends ever since. In that time, both have become certified trainers and began talking about how they would do things differently if they owned a gym.
“We got a feel for what we liked and what we disliked,” recalls Neimeister. So after hearing about Bad Girl Ventures’
fall business training program, the two decided to enroll in the class. “We learned a lot,” says Neimeister. “We had a business plan going into it, but throughout the course we completely re-wrote it.”
Ultimately Neimeister and Tortoreti not only won a $25,000 loan from BGV to start their business, they also won a loan from BGV loan partner Economic Community Development Institute
(ECDI). They decided to accept the ECDI loan, and they plan to open Birdtown CrossFit
in Lakewood in January.
Birdtown CrossFit is different from most gyms. Instead of treadmills and elliptical machines, CrossFit has jump ropes and barbells. “It’s not your typical gym,” says Tortoreti. “It’s very structured with group classes and hardly any machines.”
Neimeister predicts Birdtown will be a welcome addition to Lakewood. “I think there’s definitely demand for it on the west side of Cleveland,” she says. In addition to working at area CrossFit gyms, the two have toured gyms all over the country to get a feel for what they want in their own gym.
The BGV loan will now go to Renter's BOOM
, a company that uses social media for apartment listings. BGV awarded Tantalize
, a mobile spray tanning company, a $5,000 loan.
Sources: Jillian Neimeister and Tricia Tortoreti
Writer: Karin Connelly