From working at restaurants as a teenager to beginning a career in banking to finally taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, Jordan Meinster’s (CEO & Founder, PickUp USA Fitness) journey is nothing short of inspiring.
This is where it all began!
From a young age, Jordan was always a hard worker. Even as a teenager, he worked full-time at Jiffy Lube, in restaurants, and as a window washer. Unlike his peers, Jordan made his way to college by paying for his own tuition fees. Later, after completing his MBA, he spent about six years working at reputed banks. At that time, entrepreneurship never crossed his mind. What he envisioned for himself was climbing the corporate ladder somewhere. But as they say, never say never; ten years ago, Jordan quit his job in banking and decided to pursue an idea that he had been thinking and working over since his freshman year.
Taking the First Step Towards Fulfilling the Dream
In October 2011, Jordan founded PickUp USA Fitness, the first and only basketball-focused fitness club concept operating in the US. However, the journey between realizing his dream and founding it wasn’t a cakewalk.
To get PickUp USA’s first club off the ground, Jordan had to get creative with his financing. This took a lot of time and persistence. But, once he secured funding, he had a hard time leasing space for his venture. Landlords weren’t ready to lease their facility to an undercapitalized start-up entrepreneur who had no prior experience in operating a gym. Rejections came and went. Sometimes, Jordan thought that his dream would not turn into reality.
“I stayed the course, though, and eventually, in May of 2022, I signed a lease on our first location in Irwindale, CA, and we were in business a month later,” says Jordan.
A Unique Concept behind PickUp USA Fitness Clubs
PickUp USA’s slogan and mission statement are the same: A Better Way to Play. From the beginning, Jordan’s objective was to provide a better basketball experience. With his team, he has stayed true to it by adding numerous service offerings for the members and guests of the clubs.
“Initially, we started as a gym that runs officiated pickup basketball games with referees. Now, we are a full-service basketball focused-fitness club that offers basketball games, basketball tournaments, group and private basketball training, youth development leagues, full weight, cardio rooms, and a lot more,” mentions Jordan. Today, with a myriad of annual participants, PickUp USA is shaping the future of basketball and delivering an unparalleled gym experience to its customers.
Leading from the Front
As the CEO & Founder of PickUp USA, Jordan fulfills two key responsibilities. The first one includes overseeing PickUp USA’s corporate team to ensure they are growing the company, supporting the franchisees, promoting the brand, and taking care of their customers nationwide.
His second responsibility is to be in constant touch with all the franchise owners of PickUp USA Fitness Clubs, whom he considers his business partners. Being the supportive leader he is, Jordan is either communicating with them via phone or visiting them on-site across the country. Since he owns and operates PickUp USA locations himself, Jordan wants to be in the trenches with the franchise owners through the good and bad times. “They work incredibly hard to grow our brand, and it’s our job to support them and provide them the resources to help them succeed,” states Jordan.
Mistakes are the Stepping Stones to Success
Jordan considers mistakes and missteps as a constant part of growing a business. He says, “I make mistakes all the time. But you learn from them.” Mistakes didn’t stop him in any way. Instead, Jordan and his team made every ‘failure’ turn into a learning moment that helped them revise systems and create a better customer experience.
This is why people chose to franchise PickUp USA Fitness Club. “We have ten years’ worth of mistakes that we have made, and we provide our franchisees with training and a playbook to ensure that they don’t have to go through the learning curve that we did,” shares the wise CEO of PickUp USA.
Milestones Depicting the Growth Journey
“Getting our first location opened was a massive milestone,” shares Jordan. Taking an idea and turning it into a legitimate business serving customers is a huge accomplishment for him. Opening PickUp USA’s first franchise location in the following years was another big achievement for him. This was special because Jordan and his team had spent five years working out the flaws in their operating model at the original location into a scalable concept.
“We have always been very deliberate about our growth plans. And so, opening multiple clubs in several markets is our latest accomplishment that we feel good about,” asserts Jordan with great pride.
A Day in the Life of a Leader
At PickUp USA, Mondays are devoted to team meetings and work updates. “I meet with the whole team first thing in the morning, and then meet with each department throughout the rest of the day,” shares the CEO of PickUp USA. Jordan further explains that it is a great way to kick start the week and ensure everyone on the team is rowing in the same direction.
Likewise, Jordan’s schedule is jam-packed throughout the week. From site selections to identifying facilities to negotiating leases to targeting the club launches, he is completely involved in the entire process with the new franchise owners. He also checks in with his exiting team of franchisees to know about how they are doing and if they need any assistance from his team in further growing their business.
During turbulent times, ‘this too shall pass’ is Jordan’s mantra for dealing with pressure and anxiety. He opines that when things are stressful, it is always a temporary situation that will be resolved through hard work and diligence.
As for unplugging from work, Jordan tries to take out a dedicated day each weekend where he likes to explore the outdoors and stay away from his gadgets. He also enjoys playing basketball and working out at PickUp USA’s gym daily. “The nice thing about my work travel is that every city I go to has a PickUp USA, so I don’t have any excuse for skipping the gym,” says Jordan with a grin.
A Piece of Advice to the Aspirants
The CEO & Franchise Owner of PickUp USA Fitness Clubs shares that it is a gratifying feeling to own and run one’s business. However, it comes with a price. It takes hours of hard work to achieve your goals and great perseverance to deal with hardships. Therefore, Jordan recommends aspiring entrepreneurs to prepare their mindset for the same right at the beginning.
“As a franchisor, my team works to ensure that our franchise owners always have a support system. This allows them to be in business for themselves but not themselves. Even though they still have to put in the work, they have a whole team on the corporate side working for them seven days a week,” says Jordan.
Beating the Pandemic Blues
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PickUp USA had to suspend its operations in all locations. From a franchise owner’s perspective, it was a nightmare. Countless thoughts were going through Jordan’s mind. How long would this last, and would the customers return when it reopens?
Fortunately, the turbulent times didn’t last very long. “Our clubs started reopening in May of 2020, and not only did the customers come back, but we were also immediately outperforming our pre-pandemic numbers,” reveals Jordan. The demand for basketball was basically the same pre and post-COVID. Still, many basketball gyms didn’t survive, so PickUp USA and its franchise owners benefited from having less supply in the market of basketball services.
“2020 turned into our best year on record. 2021 beat 2020. And year to date in 2022, we are pacing way ahead of 2021 and on our way to another record-setting year,” excitedly adds Jordan. He credits his franchise owners for how efficiently and calmly they navigated through the pandemic storm. “Although we provided guidance, resources, and 24/7 support, the franchise owners put in the real work to turn a crisis into a major opportunity,” continues Jordan.
Trailblazing Towards the Future
Today, consumers all over the country are very eager to see a PickUp USA open in their communities, so Jordan and his team are doing their best to keep up with the demand. To make this happen, they are taking time to select the new franchise owners and locations that would amplify PickUp USA’s client base.
“We currently have nine clubs under construction, so we are busy working day and night to launch these new locations. Additionally, we are also rolling out several new youth basketball services, keeping our team busy as we service a ton of demand from the youth market at our clubs,” reveals Jordan. And so, PickUp USA as a franchising brand is at an exciting point of growth, and Jordan loves every bit of it.