Kraig Feighery on the importance of forming partnerships at any time:
Upon opening in January 2014, we knew we had to make our mark early, especially since January is right in the heart of Florida’s golf season. So we immediately started cutting deals, realizing that partnerships and relationships, versus just charging people money to make the biggest amount possible, was the way to go for us. First we invited church groups and other local community organizations free access to the facility in exchange for them taking care of the marketing of their event or function and making a contribution to The First Tee of Lee County, which is headquartered here. Second, and most important, we reached an agreement with Florida Gulf Coast University, located 12 minutes away from us, to give their PGM students use of our facility (which currently consists of a driving range and short game area and a new 9-hole short course opening soon.) Having the FGCU partnership allows us to use their brainpower and creative thinking while giving them real-world experience, while our partnership with The First Tee helps to breed the next generation of golfers.
Kraig Feighery on the business impact of forming partnerships at any time:
Our overall business has gone up 15-20 percent across the board when compared to the first semester (fall 2014) when the FGCU deal was put in place. In that timespan, our balls dispensed has gone up by 16 percent, mini-golf rounds 22 percent, and food & beverage by 10 percent. The deal with FGCU has been a great feeder system for us, giving us a consistent flow of employees (full- and part-time) along with the residual revenues from food & beverage, mini-golf and purchases made by them and any friends they bring along. Three students currently work for us and we’ve put them to use, helping us jump-start and run a long-drive league along with creating the scorecard for the short course. They get service hours (MSR credits) for their work at The First Tee, and five of the PGM students helped to run our summer camp. The bottom line here is that by creating partnerships, versus charging for usage, we’ve formed relationships that turn into win-wins for all parties, and have helped put a facility only open 22 months on the map.
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