Colin McClowry and his family have always been dedicated to serving individuals with special needs. Now, they’re excited to bring Special Strong to Ohio to further support their community.
Tell me a bit about yourself – what does your background look like?
I was very athletic when I was younger. In high school, I did swimming, track, and golf – all four years on the varsity team. When I was younger, I did gymnastics for 10 years. I’ve played football, basketball, and baseball. I picked up a golf club when I was two years old for the first time and that’s my favorite sport. For the past three and half years I’ve been working out and there’s a gym right across from my dad’s office, so I get there almost every day.
What were you doing in your previous career?
I live with my parents in Medina, Ohio – just south of Cleveland. My dad owns a business for kids ages 2-8 with special needs who need speech, physical, and occupational therapy. He has four locations here in Ohio that he’s been operating since 2000. I work there and get to work with kids with special needs every day. Everyone is so caring and so supportive about everything. It’s a lot of fun.
My dad has owned his business for 23 years. My mom was a teacher for 20 years here in Medina at the high school and she worked with kids with special needs before she started working with my dad. My parents met at a summer camp for kids with special needs where they work. They’ve been around this community their whole lives and so have I.
How did you end up here? Why did you pick Special Strong?
Over the summer, my dad saw an advertisement on Facebook for Special Strong. He sent it to me and my first reaction was that it looked so awesome. You get to work out and you’re working with people with special needs – both things that I enjoy and spend every day doing. I read about it and talked it over with my dad. He asked if I’d want to bring Special Strong here to Ohio.
Were there any concerns that you had going into this process?
I thought the idea was so cool, but it’s a big responsibility. I’ve never owned a business in my life. I’m 23 years old. My dad runs a business so I’ve seen that side of it, but otherwise it felt kind of like a shot in the dark because I didn’t have that experience.
Running a business is risky for anyone. It doesn’t matter what business it is. I’m not worried about it anymore, but the main thing that I was worried about was the possibility of putting in all the work, all the time, all the money, and not seeing it succeed. That was my biggest fear. I know it all comes down to me. It’s all me and how much work and time I put into it. I’m the one in control right now.
What made you overcome your fears and say YES to Special Strong?
The one thing that’s stuck out to me during the whole process of hearing about Special Strong, meeting Daniel and everyone else, from the day I saw that ad to now, is that everything has been so smooth. There has not been a rough spot. There hasn’t been an issue with anything. I haven’t had trouble reaching out to people. Everyone has gotten back in touch so quickly. I haven’t had to wait and they’re always on top of things whenever we have questions or are concerned about anything.
One of the books in the training program says that your mindset is your biggest weapon. If you have a positive mindset, anything can happen. So I try to keep positive about all of it. I’m young. I’ve never done this before. It can be stressful and nerve-wracking, but if I stay positive, I know I can do it.
From start to finish, what was the process like of becoming a franchisee?
Daniel flew out here to Ohio to meet me. We had brunch together. He came and saw my dad’s office here in Medina. He saw the gym where I work out and he met the owner of the gym. We told the owner about Special Strong together.
Now I’m in the training phase and I’m enjoying it. I work every day so I do a little bit at a time every single night after I get home from the gym. The training portal is super smooth. There’s a checklist of everything I need to do. It’s very straightforward. I don’t ever feel lost. And I know that if there’s anything I do need help with, I can reach out and I’ll get a response in a timely manner.
During the process, what did you learn from talking with other franchisees?
I talked to Fran, who told me that he went through almost the same process as what I’m going through right now. He had never run a business before either. He shared his story with me, and he said it worked out fine. And he said, “If I can do it, then you can do it too.” That made me feel a lot more comfortable about the situation. He seemed like a very open guy. I was very comfortable talking to him and he asked me a lot of really important questions.
What would you tell someone else who is considering becoming a franchisee?
My dad told me it’s always hard at the beginning. It will always be hard – that’s the hardest part. But once you get going and you start getting some momentum, all those worries will go away. And obviously, you’ll have good days and bad days, great days and horrible days. But as long as you just keep going, it’s going to be okay.
What made Special Strong different from other opportunities you were looking into?
They asked me this question when I was going through the interview process. I got a little teared up. When I heard about Special Strong, I knew right away that it was what I needed and wanted to do. I said to myself this is what I see myself doing and this is what I see myself loving. I love to work out and I absolutely love working with people with special needs. I knew right away that this was what I wanted to do.
I love making a difference every day with the kids I work with now at my dad’s office. The youngest kid that’s there right now is two years old. Every single day when I open the door to let him in, he runs up to me with the biggest smile when he sees me. It just makes my day. So I knew it was a calling when I saw a Special Strong.
If you would like to learn more about owning a rewarding Special Strong franchise, we encourage you to reach out to us today for more information.