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Meet Mike Brown of Kids In Sports in Walpole

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Brown.

Mike, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I had been working in the financial services industry in Boston for almost 20 years but my dream was to own a business one day. I began searching for business ideas and came across a new franchise opportunity called Kids In Sports. It was a perfect combination of coaching sports, working with kids and running my own business. I was confident that the business could work here in the Boston area because the co-founders have been successfully running Kids In Sports in New York City for 17 years.

With the support of my wife and two children, I decided to move forward and open up Kids In Sports in Walpole (20 miles south of Boston). Two years later, we now offer sports classes, camps, and birthday parties for boys and girls ages 1 – 8 years old. We also visit a number of pre-schools and elementary schools in the area running our multi-sport classes for students.

For the first time in my life, I am passionate about my job and look forward to waking up each morning and heading to work.

Has it been a smooth road?
Just like starting any new business, there are obstacles along the way. However, by being part of the Kids In Sports franchise, the process for opening a new Kids In Sports is much easier. The first step of finding a location was the first obstacle. I looked at nearly a hundred locations and narrowed it down to six potential locations. The Walpole location was the best option due to the size, shopping plaza, and location on Route 1. The location was also close to home which was an added bonus. After many years of commuting into Boston on the train, being able to drive 15 minutes to work was a life-changing benefit!

Another challenge was making sure the construction of the facility and delivery of all equipment would be completed in time for opening day. There were a few stressful moments but it all worked out in the end. Finally, there is the daily challenge of bringing in new customers and providing a valuable service that makes the customer want to return. It has taken some time to understand which marketing tools are most effective for my customer base.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Kids In Sports is a sports program for children starting as young as 12 months up to 8 years old. We focus on teaching kids different sports such as Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer and Volleyball. The classes are age-specific and the lesson plans are designed specifically for that age group. We, also, offer a low coach to child ratio (typically 1:5) so the children receive personal attention to help them develop their skills.

One question I am asked is why do we teach different sports throughout the program instead of focusing on one sport such as soccer. We strongly believe children should learn multiple sports at a young age instead of specializing too early. There has been a lot of research conducted on the benefits of playing multiple sports. Children tend to burn out if they play one sport only. Kids who play one sport may have a higher risk of injury due to overuse compared to kids who play multiple sports. Another great benefit is that kids who play multiple sports are more likely to play sports throughout their life. This last one resonates with me because as a kid, I played every sport I could and continue to play sports today. It is so important but also difficult for youth today to stay active. Sports can be a great opportunity for kids to get the exercise they need and starting them as early as 12 months old can benefit them for life.

We offer different types of classes throughout the week and weekend: 45-minute adult participation classes, 1-hour separation classes and a 2-hour drop-off program for pre-school age children. We also run sports clinics in the evening and after-school programs at local schools. In addition to classes, we run sports camps during school vacation periods and we offer fun birthday parties on the weekends.

What sets us apart from others is that we are offering a sports-based program for children starting at 12 months old with a low coach to child ratio. We also focus on the benefits that go beyond the game such as socialization, communication, increased confidence, listening skills and respecting others just to name a few.

What makes me so proud of Kids In Sports is we focus on coaching the fundamentals of sports in a safe, fun, supportive and friendly environment. I know I made the right decision in opening Kids In Sports when I see kids running into the facility so excited for class to start. And when they score a goal and their faces light up with pride. And when class ends and their parents see their smiling and sweaty faces from playing sports and having fun!

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Being part of the greater Boston area, Walpole is a great place to start a business. Route 1 is a great location for a business because of the amount of daily traffic and it connects to a number of towns with families. The Boston area loves sports! Offering sports programs for young children is something that was desperately needed in this area.

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