John Responte, a Marine Corps war Veteran, wanted to open his own business to provide job security to himself and his colleagues. Working as a personal trainer at large corporate gyms, his job was always in jeopardy. After the third time that owners closed or sold the gym where he was working, and he and his fellow trainers found themselves unemployed, John decided to open his own gym. He reached out to local Veteran resources where he found out about the free business technical assistance programs at Business Impact NW, and one of its programs, the Veterans Business Outreach Center.
John needed a loan to turn his dream into a reality, but didn’t have much collateral to offer a traditional lender. Business Impact NW’s counseling & lending departments worked with him on his personal finances, business plan, and loan application to secure a start-up loan in October 2015. Two months later, he opened Awesome Inc, a personal and group fitness facility in Auburn, WA. John says, “The whole process was very timely, very simple. It only took two months from start to finish, and I had my business.”
John’s success has been extraordinary. He gets to live his passion every day, “helping people change their lives and get stronger and healthier.” He works with clients age 20’s through 60’s, providing personal training, recovery classes, group fitness, and boot camps. He especially loves working with transitioning seniors, to help them prepare for a happy retirement. John also employs 6 trainers to whom he provides security, a living wage, and a positive work environment. He tells us, “The biggest thing is knowing that my job is going to be there, and I can provide for the other trainers.”
As John’s business grew, he secured a second microloan from BIN in January 2018 to double the size of his gym. “In a couple of years we will definitely outgrow this space, maybe grow into a larger facility or add a second one,” he says proudly. “Then I can help more people get healthy, and provide more jobs. It’s really exciting.”