Ask personal trainer and fitness center owner Anthony Kapasakis to develop a training and fitness program for you, and he will enthusiastically put together an intense and personally tailored plan perfectly suited to your experience and goals. But if you’d asked Anthony in 2021 for his plan to grow and expand his group of four innovative and increasingly popular New Jersey fitness centers, he would have been far less pumped.
“I had a general idea of what I wanted in terms of growth – empowering my managers to ultimately take over and own their locations, building strong ties with the communities we operated in, developing a strong brand, and keeping a consistent company culture and member experience,” said Anthony, founder and owner of SETS Hybrid Training. “But I didn’t have any real sense of how to accomplish those things. That all changed when I met Roy.”
Both as a lawyer, a corporate executive, and a franchise area development owner himself, Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s Roy Hibberd has played instrumental roles in the success of countless businesses in a wide range of industries, developing franchising and other strategic growth plans for billion-dollar companies and start-ups alike. He fondly remembers his first meeting with Anthony and how impressed he was with Anthony’s vision and passion for his work, his fitness centers, his employees, and his members.
A “Graduate Degree Program in Franchising”
“Anthony clearly knew the fitness business inside and out, but it was his infectious enthusiasm and genuine interest in seeing his managers and employees grow and succeed as much as his business that made me excited to work with him,” Roy said.
Anthony, who at the time owned and operated SETS gyms in Freehold, Hamilton, Jackson, and Old Bridge, New Jersey, had a very high-level understanding of franchising but was seeking to work with an attorney who could address both the business and legal issues involved. After discussing his goals with Roy, Anthony was convinced that franchising was the best way to realize his dreams for his business and that Roy was the right person to make that happen given Roy’s significant franchise expertise and experience.
“I knew next to nothing about franchising,” Anthony recalls. “Roy understood that while I was an entrepreneur, I certainly wasn’t a lawyer, and he didn’t talk to me like one. He walked me through every aspect of how things would work, what to expect, and what we needed to do and change to create a SETS franchise system. Then we got to work.”
A Better Business Owner and Stronger Company
Anthony remembers that the process of getting his company in position for expansion, in particular the development of the SETS Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), transformed and improved the way he saw and ran his business. Working with Roy in formalizing policies and procedures, building out a business and growth plan, defining KPIs and revenue targets, and all the other elements needed for the FDD and SETS franchise system made SETS more efficient and agile and helped Anthony transform his conceptual goals into concrete, achievable plans.
“Even if we never launched our franchising plans, just the exercise of putting them together and working closely with Roy throughout the process made me a better business owner and made SETS a stronger company,” Anthony said.
Of course, those franchising plans came to fruition. In January 2023, SETS’ Old Bridge location became its first franchise, with its long-time manager becoming its first franchisee. The second franchised location in Barnegat, New Jersey, came online in March 2023. SETS is now expanding beyond the Garden State, with a new franchise soon to open in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and plans for a location in South Carolina.
Anthony says that Roy’s business advice and legal counsel was invaluable to SETS’ success and that working with him was both enlightening and enjoyable.
“I knew I could call Roy anytime with a question or concern, and he would have my back. I continue to look to him for advice and feel like I have a true partner on this journey,” Anthony said.