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Don't sweat it - two moms open new gym

By Kaitlin Loukides
Published On: Aug 20 2014 08:10:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 21 2014 10:28:16 AM CDT

Pocatello Athletic Club

POCATELLO, Idaho -

Starting a business these days can be difficult, and starting a business with family members is usually advised against. But two local sisters are challenging that.

Sisters Brandi Clark and Misty Olsen decided to buy World's Gym on North Main St. and turn it into the Pocatello Athletic Club.

And their business theory is simple: If you have the passion, the success will follow.

"We just had a vision of a product we wanted to present to the area, and now we have the opportunity to make that vision come true," Clark said.

Clark said both she and her sister used to attend a previous gym, but felt they could open a new facility that would offer more to the community.

Eastern Idaho Development Corporation Executive Director Samantha Damron said starting a new business in southeast Idaho is especially difficult these days since lenders are still hesitant to loan money to startups after the 2008 economic downturn.

"I think a lot of it is the unsure state of the success of the business, and coming out of the recession, there have been a lot of institutions that aren't ready to take that plunge just yet," Damron said. "It makes it that much harder to start a small business, even in southeastern Idaho where the temperature is certainly warming-up for small businesses, but it's still a little chilly for startups."

Damron said she usually sees startup entrepreneurs come in wanting to find funding for their new business without capital to begin with. She said it's good to have enough capital on hand to not only start up your business, but to sustain it for the first six months to one year since that is usually the time it takes before small business will start to see a profit.

But worrying about lender financing is sweating the small stuff to both women who are also mothers, with Clark expecting another child soon. Even juggling families on the side, these two young entrepreneurs decided to pursue what they were passionate about, with a bigger picture in mind.

"I don't know if I would consider myself even an entrepreneur as much as just a 'go-getter' and someone who just wants to make things better for our families and ourselves. At the end of the day, for Misty and I, it all boils down to the fact that we have families we want to take care of," Clark added.

She said, starting up a small business, especially a gym, is risky business but not impossible if you are able to surround yourself with the right people.

"We had a client and a member who was a banker and another one who taught business at Idaho State University, along with people who we could turn to for advice, and they led us in the right direction."

Clark said ISU College of Business Professor John Ney even had his class draft-up business models for the new gym, which helped the students gain real-life experience as well as help provide Clark and Olsen with various possibilities they could take to the drawing board with them.

Damron said that's one thing most aspiring entrepreneurs need to remember: it's important to constantly be asking others for advice.

She also advises people to stop by the Eastern Idaho Development Corporation if they need a place to start, since the company not only has four different loan programs they can offer to clients, but they can also point them in the right business-model direction. She also said to be prepared for anything that could happen and to have a strong business plan in place, sometimes as backup.

Click here to learn more about the Eastern Idaho Development Corporation and here for more information on the Small Business Development Center and here for ISU College of Business' Bengal Solutions website.

The gym will have its grand opening on Friday night starting at 7. See http://pocatelloathleticclub.com/.

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