Wayne Ragsdale cringes every time there's a new business announced in the media.
"Everywhere you turn, six new stores in the first year. Nine. You name it," said Ragsdale, who owns SupplementGiant and Home Fitness Exercise Equipment, at 2240 N. Rock Road.
So it's no surprise that Ragsdale's first Wichita expansion to the Shops at Chadsworth comes 19 years after he founded the Wichita store.
The former stockbroker has ridden three basic business principles — find an unserved niche, control growth and avoid borrowing — into a successful chain of fitness shops.
His west-side Wichita store, at 2556 N. Maize Court, opens Dec. 1. Dan Unruh of InSite Real Estate Group handled the lease.
"It's a tough decision to make," said Ragsdale, who operates the Wichita stores and a Denver location with his wife, Lisa.
"You get comfortable and you do the amount of workload you have. You have to push yourself to the next level, see the need for your products that develops and respond to that.
"Competition does that for you, too. They move in and they make you better, whether you want them to or not."
Couple that with employees educated about the equipment and dietary supplements —"Our emphasis has always been knowledgeable customer service," Ragsdale said —
and you have a niche.
"It's worked over here on the east side, and it's working in Denver," he said. "Our sales numbers just keep growing, so our product and equipment lines just keep expanding."
Ragsdale's chain has grown slowly, "as customers come in and tell us where the next spot should be," he said.
"Our plan is to not spend a lot of money we don't have," he said. "We've funded each store with money we've saved, so we don't have to start leveraging to buy shelving, buy inventory, develop cash flow, things like that.
"We've been very fortunate thus far to be able to take existing cash reserves and start both stores."
Good plan, said Tim Pett, director of Wichita State's Center for Entrepreneurship, since hasty expansion has killed many good business ideas.
"Focus on your business and your systems and processes," Pett said. "If you grow too quickly, you won't have the systems and processes to grow the business successfully. Growth for growth's sake won't make you any money."
Further growth is possible in Wichita "but we're going to do our homework first, as we always have," Ragsdale said.
Plans call for a couple more stores in Denver, "a really health-conscious environment with 3 million people," he said.
All under the same theme:
"If you can't do it better than the guy across the street, the guy across town or the guy in the other town, then don't bother."