1 Year = 365 Opportunities
1 Year = 365 Opportunities. 365 opportunities to create smiles, build personal skills & relationships, and support inclusion. Mission Accomplished.
When we began our journey to open We Rock the Spectrum-Jacksonville, there were a lot of unknowns. Can we do this? How do we get a business loan? How do we RUN a business? Will people come? The list goes on and on. As professionals in the Special Education field, we had a passion to take education and channel it in to an up-beat, motivating environment. There was a BIG learning curve… and we are still bending.
Road Bump #1 : DENIAL
Who likes to hear “No”? I don’t think anyone does. We don’t. And we heard it… A LOT. From the people at the bank(s), to colleagues, to the city, we heard it numerous times. NO. As positive people, it gets very challenging to maintain positivity when doors slam shut in every hallway. We knew the positive effect it would have on our community IF we could just get there. “Just give us the gym.. we know we can ROCK this” is what we would say ALL the time! If a door closed, we would find an open window and continue to persevere. We relied on a very supportive corporate team, our families, and the positive vibes from the community to make this possible!
Road Bump #2 : BALANCE
Have you ever opened a brand new business 7 months pregnant? How about a newborn at home? If you have, you can attest that it is not easy. Working 6+ days a week, all day, the time you have at home is very limited. Late nights at the gym mean even later bedtime kisses and mommy exhaustion! The emotional struggle of dividing yourself in to two or three people and being three places at once weighs heavy on our hearts. On a daily basis, it is hard. Looking past the day-to-day, we focus on what we are teaching our girls in the long run. Mommies are HARD workers. When you have a dream, follow it and do what it takes to make it happen. When you put your mind to something, accomplish it. Our family dynamics have changed, no doubt, but our girls love to run, walk, and crawl on to these blue mats with smiles and enjoy the gym alongside every other kid. And as mommies, we think of the bigger picture! Besides, this is a family-owned small business. We love to share our family stories with the other families in the gym and fortunate bring the girls here as much as possible!
Road Bump #3 : MALFUNCTIONS
How many people does it take to put a trampoline together? The correct answer = 8. We have had our ups and downs with equipment and maintenance this past year – and made us super thankful for handy husbands! Every piece of this gym has been touched by our family and friends from the tiles on the floor, the paint on the walls, and the equipment our kids love to zip, swing, and climb on. Naturally, like owning your first home, things are going to happen you are NEVER ready for! Like, a malfunctioning door knob that locks one of the owners in the office during a special event (Thanks Mr. Cox for your screw driver skills to help with that one!). From the 6 Jacksonville Firefighters who responded with the ladder truck to our beeping sound in the Fire Riser, giant reptiles sneaking through the cargo door and in to the back room, or floating floor tiles and flooding the gym when a plumbing leak occurs next door, we handled it. Quick thinking, lots of Melaleuca cleaning supplies, trips to Home Depot, and most importantly, a sense of humor got us through.
Road Bump #4, 5, 6…
The truth is, owning and maintaining a business is not easy, nor ever will be. There will be countless road bumps along the way, that will be managed by our commitment, hard work, and confidence in knowing the value you are giving back to others.
We Rock the Spectrum-Jacksonville has given us 365 reasons to smile every day we walk in. So until we celebrate again, here’s to 365 more!
Excitement: Lea and Marissa first talked to Mr. John Canaday about opening up their We Rock the Spectrum location while at a conference in Daytona Beach, FL. The interview went great, they were more motivated than ever to get started. So motivated in fact, they went to the local surf shop and had hats made to celebrate!
Exhaustion: This photo was taken at midnight, the night before GRAND OPENING on December 17th, 2017!
Accomplishment: Two years later, Lea and Marissa returned to the same conference in Daytona Beach, FL as two business professionals. Board Certified Behavior Analysts AND Co-Owners of We Rock the Spectrum-Jacksonville.