An interview with Leslie Grosshauser, co-owner of S&L Tri-CycleFitStudio in St. Charles.
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
A: We are an indoor cycling and fitness studio. We offer fun, motivating group cycling classes using the top of the line Schwinn AC Performance bikes. We offer computraining classes where you bring in your own bike and we also offer fitness classes such as boot camps, strength training, core classes and the hot new Hollywood workout -called Piloxing. We have a light show with every ride, spinning disco balls and theater lights and fun motivating instructors.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: We decided to combine both of our passions for riding into one business. Sammy has been in business selling outdoor bikes for as long as I have been teaching on indoor bikes (25 years). We both thought it would be a perfect union -- providing indoor classes to the outdoor cyclists during the winter months and then providing the indoor cyclists the opportunity to get their feet wet riding outdoors. We both have crazy personalities and we wanted to create a fun place to train for all of our people.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?
A: The most difficult obstacle so far has been getting the word out. Marketing costs a lot of money, in both of our worlds we rely on word-of-mouth for our marketing. With this type of marketing we need to get as many people in our doors as possible so they can spread the word for us. Unfortunately, Sammy and I are not very patient and we need to be reminded that Rome was not built in day. We know this ramp up period may take a few months, but we are so eager to fill our 27 classes per week to capacity.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: The best part of owning your own business is that you do not have to listen to "corporate" or anyone else. Coming from a national fitness chain I was very crippled as to what I could do and offer in my programming. We now have the freedom to offer whatever type of classes we want. I can now have fun lights, a stage, a big microphone and untraditional classes like Karaoke Cycling.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?
A: When I was young I never really thought about what I was going to be. I knew I wanted to be onstage somehow. I loved to perform ... so I guess you can say I am "living the dream." I get to be onstage for all of my classes. As I turned 50 last year I decided the time was now to start my own business. I could not live my life thinking I never tried what I wanted to do due to being fearful. My father started his own business at age 50 as well, so I guess you can say I am following in my father's footsteps. I am so grateful to have Sammy support my cause and believe in the same things that I believe in.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: What keeps me up at night? A vision of an empty class roster. Our goal is to serve our members with some great classes and keep them coming back for more. A re-occurring dream I have is that I am teaching class and I open my eyes and everyone has left the class. That is what you call an "aerobic nightmare." It is human nature to want to be loved and appreciated, I love what I do and I want everyone to love it as much as I do. I just want people to fall in love with exercising and that is my goal in every class.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: My one tip would be to surround yourself with a good support system. Starting your own business is very difficult. There are ups and downs.
- Kim Mikus
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