"I never planned to start my own business." - Jeff Carr, owner, The Fitness Company
When my desire to help people reach their fitness goals through movement education led me to open a fitness studio, Landmark Bank was there with all the business expertise I needed to get started. The team at Landmark shows genuine enthusiasm for helping me succeed. Isn't it time you became a Landmark?
Some people are born entrepreneurs, dreaming from a young age of starting their own business. Jeff Carr was not one of those people. Growing up, what he did dream of was helping people to improve their lives, following a model set by his parents.
"I always wanted to have an influence with people, leading by example for younger people, teaching them how to be a good person and to hopefully have them pass it on," he says.
While earning his bachelor's degree in health science at the University of Missouri, Jeff took up personal training to make some money on the side. After graduating, he tried pursuing a clinical route in grad school but continued as a trainer and took part in a MU research grant project that focused on quality and access of care.
Between his study of the human body and his personal training experience, Jeff started to see his opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.
"There are a lot of intricacies of movement," he says. "Educating the client on why and how their bodies make certain movements will help identify and correct their problem areas. That gets them moving better and gets results more quickly."
Jeff wanted to transform the way people think about exercise. He envisioned a fitness studio with all different types and sizes of people, one that would focus on the science of movement, to help people build the knowledge and confidence to succeed in whatever physical endeavors they chose.
He started hosting training sessions in his garage and saved up to bring his vision into reality while earning his master's in health education with an emphasis in exercise physiology and public health. When he finally had enough to open his studio, The Fitness Company, without taking out loans, he turned to Landmark Bank for support.
"I've been lucky to do what I was doing at such a young age," Jeff says. "I had to make sure I knew what I was talking about, from the standpoint of owning a company at 24." When he and a friend went in to open a business account, "Landmark helped us get set up initially and gave us recommendations on how to structure the business."
The team at Landmark showed Jeff the same type of care that Jeff gives his clients at The Fitness Company.
"I saw those larger gym settings, where it always seemed like you had to work out before you came in to work out. It was so intimidating," he says. "So we tried to take that fear away and make it comfortable."
Similarly, "Landmark has been fantastic through everything," Jeff adds. "Even now, they'll forward me emails about business and information that relates to the gym and ask if they can help in any way outside of just banking. They helped connect me with the right people in the community, too."
Jeff appreciates the spirit of camaraderie among business owners in Columbia. "There are enough people in Columbia that there's a place for everyone, and even though you have competitors, everyone plays nice and is respectful, and I think that's what helps Columbia continue to thrive as a small business-oriented city."
"Personal training, in my opinion, is 80 percent psychological and emotional, where you have to be positive and understand what's going on and know there are going to be pitfalls along the way," he says. "I think that genuine approach, where we don't think of it as a transaction, looking at people as individuals and thinking about how we can help each one, that's what sets FitCo apart.
In Jeff's experience, that's what sets Landmark apart as well.
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