Ever since her days as an elementary school student in Belle Vernon, PA, Natalie Fincik, Owner of Maximum Velocity Gymnastics, has always had a knack for coaching gymnastics. As the tallest kid in her class, Fincik shared that she naturally gravitated towards coaching. Watching her own coaches intently and learning from them, she created a gymnastics club that met on the playground each day to practice where she played the role of coach.
By the time she was an adult, Fincik had made a career of coaching. Her love for the sport would eventually bring her to Florida where she coached for several years before opening her own gymnastics facility.
“Before my husband and I moved to Florida in 2004, we were living in Maryland,” she said. “We had some family in the area and we were looking for a safer place to settle down. Between 2004 and 2016, I coached at two different gyms and served as Program Director at one. I also did some cheerleading coaching on the side. In early 2016, I started to really think about the possibility of having my own facility.”
Fincik shared that, because of a combination of demand and a lack places to train, she recognized an opportunity to go off on her own. She was also keen on providing a different type of experience.
“I wanted a place that pushed the kids a little harder than others,” she said. “I made a business plan and found a space. Unfortunately, that first location never came to fruition, because of unrealistic demands by the landlord, but, after searching for a while, thanks to one of our parents, we found the location we’re in now.”
Fincik explained that going from a coach to a coach and a business owner required a delicate balance. She now had a business to operate, but was also still active as a coach. Also, finding staff that was equally as committed and passionate about gymnastics was an early challenge.
“There’s not a big talent pool of coaches in this area,” she said. “As such, staffing was challenging and in general, it’s hard to find people that work as hard as you do and treat the business like their own. By chance early on, I reconnected with a former co-worker and another young woman that I coached as a child and they are both experienced in the sport and are excellent coaches. My nephew also relocated to Florida from PA last January and has been a tremendous asset to the business.”
With a small personal loan from her neighbor, years of experience and a strong passion for gymnastics, Fincik has grown Maximum Velocity Gymnastics into a top-notch training facility for amateur and competitive athletes. In addition to boys and girls gymnastics, Fincik offers preschool gymnastics, summer camps, holiday camps, after school recreational classes, birthday parties, competitive team programs and more.
“I’m always looking for new things to add,” she said. “Some things work and some don’t. The summer camps do well. This past year, I purchased a van to take the kids on field trips and to our community swimming pool.”
Fincik continued, “For me, it all comes down to enriching the lives of our kids and instilling the love of gymnastics. To see their faces light up and to hear from parents how they practice at home because they love it so much is extremely rewarding. We’re very family-oriented, which allows me to get to know all the kids and their parents.”
Looking ahead, Fincik would eventually like to move into a bigger space. She’s also considering adding a rock climbing wall and other sports like martial arts.
What advice does Fincik have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “You have to be willing to put in the hours,” she said. “As a business owner, you work more, not less. It’s your baby and you have to be fully immersed in the business to make it succeed. It’s also important to commit to your decisions and not hesitate. Lastly, watch your numbers and be careful with your expenses.”