Entrepreneurial success in the new economy:
Former cheerleader fights trends and perceptions to launch her dream
Cheerleaders are known for doing somersaults, having team spirit and for being “peppy.” They’re not usually known for their business acumen.
But for Traci Napier, who is launching a new business in the midst of one of the toughest recessions in American history, the two go hand-in-hand.
Napier, formerly a Ben-Gals Cheerleader and now coach (you can see her on the sidelines at every home game), combined her outgoing personality with her dream of being her own boss when she opened Traci’s Sports Lounge & Grill, located at 784 Loveland-Miamiville Road in Loveland, on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
But the path to success has not been without its pitfalls.
Victim of the times
Napier, 37, graduated from UC in 1995 and began working as an administrative assistant for a local company. Over the next 15 years she worked hard and prospered, all the while working part-time with the Ben-Gals. But in 2010, her company succumbed to the recession and went out of business, leaving Napier facing an uncertain future. With few job prospects available, she decided to make her own job by starting a small business.
She was unsure which direction to take until she remembered something her old boss always said. “I heard him complain countless times that he couldn’t understand why sports bars used cheap furniture and paid so little attention to the location and height of TV’s,” she explained. He used to complain constantly that his neck hurt from TV's mounted too high.
With that, an idea was born: open a sports lounge with lots of extremely comfortable chairs and barstools with ergonomic footrests, and lots of TV’s placed for easy, unobstructed viewing no matter where you’re sitting.
She had a dream and a plan, but finding and financing a location would prove to be a bigger challenge. It seemed that extending a lease to a young, single woman with little business experience was considered a risk in these uncertain times, but her perseverance (and a lot of negotiating) led to a lease in August of this year.
From victim to victor
Slated for a grand opening on Friday, Dec. 3, Traci’s Sports Lounge & Grill features 12 carefully placed, flat-screen TV’s and huge, oversized padded bar stools and comfy chairs throughout 4,000 square feet. “We designed this for everyone - from the serious fan who wants to watch the big game to someone who wants to enjoy drinks with friends, On top of that you can see 4 low hanging flat screen TV's from every seat in the house!" Napier said
Traci’s Sports Lounge & Grill offers over 65 varieties of beers, a full bar and everything from appetizers to meals.
And in a demonstration of optimism that has been the hallmark of Napier’s career both as cheerleader and entrepreneur, she is already making expansion plans for additional locations of the Traci’s Sports Lounge & Grill concept.
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