Growing up in New York City, Summer Griffith was exposed to the eclectic range of fitness services her hometown offered. Once moving to Tallahassee for school, she longed to find a fitness center that would satisfy her thirst for fun movement instead of restricting her body to weightlifting and the traditional forms of exercise.
Upon realizing that Tallahassee was missing the vibrant environment she desired, she decided that it was up to her to create a facility that would offer unique dance cardio classes that no other facility in the city offered. With help from the FSBDC at FAMU, she was able to bring that vision to life.
“I really just wanted a place where I could look forward to going but I couldn’t find it and for some reason I decided, I should be the one to make that place for Tallahassee because there has got to be other people that feel the same way I do and there is a correlation between exercising and dreading it,” Griffith said. “My thought was if you can change that mindset from dreading it to enjoying it, you are naturally then going to make more time for it and do it more in your life which then can benefit your entire life. Not only physically but mentally too.”
When she first started Drip Drop Fitness, she ran into several challenges as a new business owner with no prior experience in the fitness industry.
After hearing about the Florida Small Business Development Center at FAMU through the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and speaking with the Director of the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality, Christina Paredes, she decided to seek their services to expand her business and promote brand awareness.
“We had developed a website as well, but the SBDC was able to give us an audit on that and I was struggling with exposure and brand awareness because Drip Drop is not a franchise and it’s not a well-known name,” Griffith said. “It’s actually the first and only Drip Drop Fitness and with that you really have to work on brand awareness, and I really needed help with making our name known in Tallahassee and what that would entail.”
Some of the resources and services the FSBDC at FAMU provided Griffith were analytical tools to compare Drip Drop Fitness to the local and national market. Drip Drop Fitness also had the opportunity to be a business that MBA candidates at FAMU could study and give projections and recommendations for things she could do to enhance her business.
“Among many other things, one thing that also helped Drip Drop was being able to sit down with somebody, go through our financials line by line, really think about projections for the business and what we could be, where we are going, and really looking at where we have come,” Griffith said.
Griffith said that as a business owner, it can be challenging to find time to go through the finances of everything when focusing on trying to keep the business going. Having the partnership with the FSBDC at FAMU and receiving guidance on how to read statistical reports and get financial advice, as well as gain access to local resources, helped her navigate through challenges.
Just a few months shy of the fifth anniversary of Drip Drop Fitness, Griffith credits the FSBDC at FAMU for being an enormous part of her business’ success.
“I would recommend the SBDC to any other business,” Griffith said. “It has been so helpful to me. Just knowing that they exist and there are people that want to help you and can provide resources to your business that you might not have access to without them; is just super helpful and very comforting as you navigate an unknown territory when you start a business.”
As Griffith continues to grow Drip Drop Fitness, she is doing what she can to get more involved in the community and bring her services to those looking for a different way to exercise.
“We have gone through a lot in five years with a pandemic and moving,” Griffith said. “A lot more that I think I would have expected only five years to hold, but I am super grateful for where we are right now. We have moved to this new facility. We just won Best of Tallahassee. We are just constantly hiring local people and looking at how to get involved in the community, and I am just thankful that we are here after five years, and I am thankful that the SBDC was a part of that.”