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Local Insurance Agency Owner Found a Fulfilling Path in Youth-Focused Franchising With USA Ninja Challenge

Chris Reis looks forward to making a positive impact in his community by creating a safe space where kids can “come in and be themselves and show off their talents.”

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
Updated 12:12PM 07/10/24

Two years ago Chris Reis, owner of an insurance agency, found himself in search of an additional venture. He sought a franchise opportunity to positively impact his local community in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, which he felt didn’t have a lot of options for kids activities. After some searching, Reis found USA Ninja Challenge and decided to take the leap.

Two years later, Reis is still enjoying franchising with the brand and has found a sense of fulfillment in providing kids with a safe space to play, learn and develop their talents. With his current location reaching maximum capacity, he is starting to consider further expansion of his business. 

1851 Franchise spoke with Reis about his journey into franchising with USA Ninja Challenge and his plans for the future. 

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Chris Reis: I still own an insurance agency as well and, about two years ago, I was looking for a franchise opportunity that could create a positive impact on my local community. Our area does not have many things like this for kids to do, so this was a great fit for us.

I’ve got an eight- and a five-year-old. It’s fun to have a gym to go to on a rainy day. They enjoy it as a hobby.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Reis: I didn’t really know what to expect. In my insurance world, it’s not franchising but it’s similar in the sense of business operations. Franchising is a business in a box; you don’t have to do as much on the front end. It’s not easy, though. Some people come in thinking that if it’s a franchise, they just hand you the keys and you’re good to go. There’s a lot of work to it, but it was a lot simpler than coming up with the idea, building the brand and starting off on your own. You’re taking an established brand and making it your own which has been pretty cool.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Reis: I’m most excited about that connection it creates for the youth in my community. For some kids, team sports aren’t for them and they’re looking for that avenue to do something on their own and this gives them that outlet. It’s a space built for kids. It’s not built for adults. It’s a safe space where they can come in and be themselves and show off their talents while they continue to learn. It’s really been cool to see that with the kids.

It’s still a relatively new franchise, so it’s been cool to be able to grow with them and they’re receptive to feedback as they continue changing in growing. If you come in with the mindset that you’re helping to build the business along with them, it’s a really good opportunity. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Reis:  We want to keep growing; we’re pretty big with our current kid count, so there’s only a little bit of room left as far as what we can do with this gym. Down the road, we may potentially consider opening another one or moving into a larger location to allow more kids. Growth in some form is definitely on our radar for the future.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Reis: You don’t have to have the background in this type of sport to be able to get into it. If you have a passion for the local community, you can do it. A business background helps and makes a big difference.

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