Gen Z'ers (those between the ages of 11 and 26) frequently get a lot of flack from elder generations for being unmotived and lazy. I can't tell you how often I've heard "kids these days don't want to work anymore!", usually spoken by a grumpy old Boomer. This misconception about Gen Z really isn't fair. A senior research scholar at Stanford University wrote this about Gen Z'ers,

In summary, a typical Gen Zer is a self-driver who deeply cares about others, strives for a diverse community, is highly collaborative and social, values flexibility, relevance, authenticity and non-hierarchical leadership, and, while dismayed about inherited issues like climate change, has a pragmatic attitude about the work that has to be done to address those issues.

I find that summary a lot more accurate. And it almost perfectly describes two young entrepreneurs from Laurel named Colt Spencer and Cam Hill.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM
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Business owners at age 23.

The lifelong friends and former Laurel High School athletes closed on the purchase of the former Snap Fitness location in Laurel (in the Ace Hardware shopping center) on February 7th, 2023. Co-owner Colt Spencer is a recent Cornell College grad with a degree in geology. But he and his business partner Camden Hill's real passions have always been in the gym. The reality of opening their own gym is still a bit overwhelming for the duo. Spencer said,

It's something that still kind of blows my mind today, actually. And it's something that kind of replays once in a while. I'm just like, Man, how did I even get this far?

The young partners were able to open the gym with a little bit of angel funding from their parents and bank loans.

Credit: Michael Foth, TSM
Credit: Michael Foth, TSM
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Any surprise challenges you experienced opening a business?

Holding various certifications and multiple years of gym and athletic training experience, the duo is quite familiar with how gyms operate, but I asked them if they had any unexpected surprises while launching a business. Colt said,

So for Cam and I something that's new is, you know, just all the normal, like utility bill stuff, and required deposits. For those, I didn't know there's a required deposit. So that was a little surprise. Yeah, that's kind of a lot of money that wasn't estimated.

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Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM
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Any advice for younger people thinking about starting a business?

Starting a business can be a huge challenge for anyone. According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, approximately 20% of all new businesses fail in the first two years. The percentage climbs to 45% in the first 5 years and a somewhat depressing 65% fail in the first 10 years. I asked Colt for his advice for someone thinking about starting a business and he said pushing those thoughts of fear out of your head is crucial.

We're always pushing to do more. And that's what it takes. Because if you're not driven to that extent, you're gonna back out because of fear. I've had a lot of, like, I know, a lot of trainers, because I've been in and out of gyms. And the number one thing they say is, "oh, I was gonna do that." And I go, "Well, why didn't you" and it's always fear. Yeah, it's always fear.

Smoothgainz offers 24-hour access for their members and their custom training app is one-of-a-kind. They're planning an open house and they invite anyone to stop by and check out what they offer.

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