By: Mack Chuilli
As we begin our tenth year of business at Traction, it is always very humbling for me to remember where I was 10 years ago. I can still recall seeing the few athletes that I had at that time rolling their eyes as I tried to convince them that the empty lot on Opportunity Avenue was going to be a brand new training facility.
Those training days were anything but convenient for my athletes as we had to travel from place to place to complete our training sessions. We did speed and agility work on the track and football field at Woodlawn High School followed by a short drive to Anytime Fitness on Coursey Boulevard to do our strength training. It was athletes like Darnell Lazare, Bennie Brazell, and others that trusted me with their careers despite these circumstances and gave me the confidence to invest my life savings into opening my own sports performance training facility.
During that time, I remember training clients anytime and anywhere that I could. I even remember training one kid three days a week in the parking lot of his parent’s work. I knew how important it was for me to build up my clientele as I waited for the construction of my new facility to be complete. I understood that once the construction was complete and we were ready to open for business, my personal income would only come after all of the overhead of the facility was paid. I had signed a seven year lease on this project and there was no turning back.
This was also a time when I was getting married to my now wife, Jill Chuilli. I remember I had to ride to Sherwin Williams the morning of my wedding to pick out the paint colors for the facility. I also left my phone with my best friend and business partner, Eddie Parfait, while I was on my honeymoon so he could handle all of the final construction details while I was gone. My wife and I knew that when we returned from our honeymoon, my real work would begin. We knew the risk I was taking and we also knew how hard it would be.
Our doors opened on August 1, 2007 in our brand new, 7,000 square foot training facility. I was Traction's only employee. I was the trainer, marketer, receptionist, janitor, baseball coach, etc.
It has been such a blessing to watch how much we have grown over the last nine years. We now have two locations in Baton Rouge, including our original location where we now occupy the full 9,000 square feet and own the property outright. Our Burbank location is over 20,000 square feet and includes our Traction Elite Physical Therapy Clinic, four turfed baseball fields, a seven cage covered hitting complex, a sprint track, and a training football field. I have great business partners in Ryan Theriot, Eddie Parfait, and Ryan Clark. We have the best staff in the industry and an abundance of some of the greatest and most loyal clients any company could ever ask for.
I have had so many employees, partners, clients, and mentors who helped me along the way. I can’t even begin to name all of them without boring you to death. Let's just say Traction would not be what it is today without each and every one of you.
I truly want to thank everyone who has been a part of our journey from the bottom of my heart. Our vision continues to grow as our company does, and we look forward to the next 10 years with our Traction family!