Former Baseball Star Koskie Tells Truth About Franchisee Life
Corey Koskie in his Minnesota Twins days.
Corey Koskie, former third baseman for the Minnesota Twins, remembers the day he got a call at 4:30 a.m. It was the security company for his Planet Fitness gym in Bloomington, Minnesota. “We have a fail to open,” the caller said. “Is this your property?”
Koskie’s employee hadn’t shown up for work, so the Major League Baseball star turned Planet Fitness franchisee had to roll out of bed and do it himself—and feel the wrath from angry customers waiting outside.
Koskie shares this story in a riveting blog post on The Players’ Tribune, www.theplayerstribune.com, which proves the transition from pro athlete to franchise operator can be very, very rough.
Koskie put it this way: “Making money in the real world is hard! In my first career, I was third basemen. But in my next one, I had to learn how to be a utility player. At Planet Fitness, I played just about every position you can imagine.” Those jobs ranged from CEO to plumber, as he described in the blog:
“Later that day, a gym member comes up to the front desk to inform me that the toilet is clogged. I went to see what was going on.
I didn’t realize I was about to step into a war zone.
I walked in and was greeted by a toilet slightly overflowing, filled with toilet paper. I grabbed rubber gloves and started cleaning out the debris. When I finally clawed through all the toilet paper, there was a surprise. One of the biggest turds you’ve ever seen (and this is saying something, because I was in MLB clubhouses for nine years).
I promptly began dry heaving. (I actually just gagged while writing this.)
As I got down to the bottom of this mountain of joy, I thought to myself What the hell am I doing? I’ve played nine years of big league ball and now I’m up to my elbows in somebody else’s freshly churned colon kebabs.
I didn’t need to be doing any of this. I made enough money in my career to not do another thing for the rest of my life. But like most athletes, I went stir crazy after I retired. So I figured I would become a “businessman.” I mean, how hard could it be?”
Koskie eventually mastered his role at Planet Fitness, operating two gyms and finally making money before successfully selling them, and he credits help from fellow franchisees for his success. He also learned from books and through practice how to hire and develop employees.
He ends his post this way: “If you are not willing to roll up your sleeves and dive into the ‘colon kebabs,’ stay on the sidelines. You need to learn the business and be active in the business. Nobody is going to watch your crap like you.”
And he adds this flourish: “Always look to evolve and grow as a person. Learn from your failures. It is not always somebody else’s fault.”