"It's all about having good people. The success or failure of your box depends on the people you work and interact with."
1. Affiliate Name: Golden State CrossFit
2. Affiliate Owner: Darin Barton
3. Affiliate Since: September 2011
4. Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
5. Square Feet: 2,500
6. Number of Members: 208
7. Describe your affiliate in six or fewer words: Best in the west.
8. How did you get your box started?
With plenty of blood, sweat and tears. A lot of sleepless nights went into the construction phase. Then we had only five members in our first month and the doubt starts to creep in, and you wonder if it's going to work out. But eventually things pick up, and now we're in an excellent place with a great community.
9. Do your members compete in the CrossFit Games Open/Regionals or in local competitions?
Nick Phillips, our head coach, trains people for the competitions, and now the majority of our members are competing at in-house events, and preparing to take it one step further and travel to other competitions as well.
10. What do you and your members do together besides train?
We have a monthly ladies brunch, paleo challenge, member BBQ, put luck and coming up we'll have a Halloween costume WOD followed by plenty of partying that night.
11. Best lesson you’ve learned so far:
It's all about having good people. The success or failure of your box depends on the people you work and interact with. We have such a great team and everyone takes care of business.
I don't know where we would be right now without our admin/marketing team, and our coaches. Good coaching and really caring about your members makes all the difference in the world.
12. Advice you wish you had been given:
Be prepared for member turnover. In the beginning, all you're doing is adding members and everything is beautiful. And then eventually people start to drop out and you start wondering what you're doing wrong. You have to understand that there is going to be a natural attrition with CrossFit.
13. What question you would love to ask other affiliate owners?
What are your annual cycles of membership? We've seen our slow times in the summer with people going on vacation, kids out of school and other activities that keep them away from the box. We haven't gone through a full year cycle yet, so I always wonder what trends everyone else sees.
Also, what are your thoughts on how to effectively price your memberships? We are cheaper than some and more expensive than others. I wonder what effect this actually has on our member acquisition.
14. Why do you do this?
I love the CrossFit workouts and lifestyle. To me, it's the best way to live and make a living. How lucky are we as box owners to make money running a CrossFit box? It's like a dream come true.
15. Tell us something cool, unusual or just slightly different about your affiliate:
Being in L.A., we get a lot of actors, musicians and current/former pro athletes. It's a lot of fun for us to see someone in class one day, and then on a TV show or in a movie the next. The cool part is that when they're in the box, they are at the mercy of the WOD like everyone else, and there is no special treatment.
16. Is there a story in your affiliate that needs to be told?
We have now had the privilege of hosting Barbells for Boobs twice. Watching cancer survivors compete alongside our military vets, with everyone raising money and cheering each other on is a truly amazing thing. It's why we get up in the morning and come to the first 5:30 a.m. class, and why we stay late until everyone leaves.
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