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Meet the Franchisor: Charlie Graves of Athletic Republic

Headquartered in Park City, Utah, Athletic Republic focuses on science-based performance sport training. Its franchises’ primary users are between 11 and 17 years old, with many planning ahead for athletic scholarships for colleges and universities.

“Their parents want to find the best coaches for their kids to help them succeed,” says Graves. “Many baby boomers are athletic and want their kids to be the same. Health and wellness have certainly moved to the centre of the national agenda here in the U.S. These trends have helped us as a franchise.”

The company combines its training programs with proprietary, patented equipment to deliver unique services.

“We have 4,000 pages of protocols that have been used to validate our approach,” Graves says. “For example, we teach the biomechanics of how to run, which no one else does! We identify strengths and weaknesses and work on movement skills, speed and symmetry to maximize athletic potential and help avoid injury. It’s a systematic approach and we provide a lot of resources for the franchise operator and the trainer. All of our facilities can test, teach and train the same way.”

One special area of expertise lately has been off-ice hockey training.

“As hockey teams travel, they see our facilities, which helps promote them as a point of competitive advantage,” says Graves. “Growth has been very organic because of the close-knit hockey community, where everyone knows each other. The rinks are adding fitness components and there’s been a push to improve conditioning through dry-land training.”

In addition to the U.S., Athletic Republic has focused on hockey training in Canada, where it currently has six franchises, following a variety of models. In Wilcox, Sask., for example, the Maier Fitness and Acceleration Training Centre is part of the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. Another franchise is at a hockey academy in Cornwall, Ont.

Of two Montreal-area locations, one is in a Pierrefonds ice arena. The franchise for Kanata, Ont., is branded as Acceleration Ottawa, while a Toronto-area facility in Vaughan, Ont., takes the form of a sports village.

College and university franchises emerge when a school wants to bring Athletic Republic’s training system to its teams. This can in turn bring college trainers into the franchise network.

Many other franchises are free-standing retail locations in strip malls, convenient for parents who can drop off and pick up their kids while shopping or doing errands.

“We also work with sports medicine and therapy providers, who bring us in to help create a more positive message for their clients,” says Graves. “They usually have appointments in the morning and early afternoon, so we’re complementary as an after-school business.”

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