LAKEWOOD RANCH -- After casting their first ballots in a U.S. presidential election, the Bolingbrokes decided their next big decision in their adopted country was to build on the business they have owned here for 10 years.
The Bolingbrokes, who moved to Lakewood Ranch from Canada 10 years ago, own Kids Supergym. They are embracing their new U.S. citizenship full scale by adding SA Sport, a sports equipment company, to their portfolio. They are doing business under the SA Sport flag as Orange Athletic Products LLC., at 8374 Market St., #215, Bradenton.
Their SA Sports clients include Cirque de Soleil in Orlando and Red Bull of New York.
"SA Sport is very big in Canada and is not known as well in the U.S., but now it is starting to focus harder in U.S. market," said Scott Bolingbroke, who began Kids Supergym with his wife, Pamela, in Lakewood Ranch a decade ago.
"It's a small industry," Bolingbroke said. "Basically you have to stay in integrity sales; do what's in the customer's best interest."
SA president Rick Schell met the couple at the previous gym they operated in Canada and wanted them to help him increase sales in Florida.
"They are more service people than sales people and that's what I want," Schell said. "At this point I would say we've probably seen an increase of 15 to 20 percent in the sales in Florida since we brought them on. If we can do that in the next three to five years, every year we should have 10 to 20 percent growth,"
Schell said the company is focused on high-end equipment for organizations, bigger companies and schools. Very little is sold to the average consumer.
"We do institutional sales about 90 percent, 10 percent home sales, so our price point is going to be higher
than what most people want to pay," Schell said.
Schell was attracted to the Bolingbrokes' business sense and their attention to detail. He was also impressed with the way they treated their gym customers.
"He knew us as being quite intense on our safety and we were the ones who made sure that our equipment was always to a higher standard than most gyms," Bolingbroke said. "He jokes we were the only ones in Canada that didn't have duct tape on our equipment."
The family business includes son Russell and daughter-in-law Lauren. But Pamela Bolingbroke was the one with the gymnastics experience, having trained as a coach in college at York University, near the Montreal Olympics. She worked with all the Canadian Olympic coaches.
"I coached all through high school and college," she said. "When I got out of college, I went into banking and that actually helped when it was time to own a club, because I have both gymnastics and banking experience."
Now they are able to use their Kids Supergym, which offers recreational and competitive programs for children ages 18 months to 18 years, as a showroom. The couple uses the equipment they sell.
"It says something good when we can get these teenagers here Friday nights and Saturday afternoons because they want to be here," Scott Bolingbroke said.
Dee Graham, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7207, or tweet @DeeGrahamBH.