Franchisor and indoor court facility provider Ace Pickleball Club is in the middle of an ambitious expansion plan. Its latest acquisition is a space at Jeffersontown Commons in Louisville, Kentucky. The establishment’s footprint is 38,000 square feet and will feature 11 indoor courts in a climate-controlled setting.
Diego Pacheco, the Chief Growth Officer of the company, stated that the Louisville venue is among the initial five Ace Pickleball Club facilities to be established. The inaugural site was inaugurated in Roswell, Georgia, situated just north of Atlanta, where the company is headquartered.
The company learned of this opportunity at Jeffersontown Commons through Brixmor Property Group. This New York-based entity owns the property and serves as the landlord for the Ace Pickleball Club location in Georgia.
Pacheco, being originally from Louisville, recognized the potential in the market and, given the growing interest in pickleball, promptly shared it with the franchise partners who were developing pickleball clubs in Cleveland, Ohio, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
They expressed keen interest and ultimately finalized the agreement.
TK Herman And Scott Howard
The operational reins of this concept will be in the hands of franchise partners TK Herman and Scott Howard.
Howard, in an interview, revealed their tech-oriented backgrounds, with Herman being an owner and Howard assuming the role of Sales Director in a software development firm.
When Herman divested in 2021, their contracts stipulated a temporary restriction from working within the industry. This prompted them to explore opportunities beyond the tech sphere.
Howard, during his hiatus, discovered pickleball, an interest that swiftly turned into a passion. He proposed to Herman that they explore pickleball franchises, which eventually led them to Ace.
“I kind of noticed just a lot of patterns that I couldn’t ignore,” Howard remarked. The different backgrounds it would bring together that I never would see.
I mean, I’m friends with people that I never thought I would ever form friendships with and even probably would never encounter, just because we live in two different worlds other than pickleball.”
Eleven Climate-Controlled Courts
The concept will offer clinics for players, commencing from novice levels and advancing with proficiency.
It will house 11 indoor courts within a controlled climate and will accommodate both structured skill-based play and social engagements.
Additionally, there are plans for glow-in-the-dark pickleball sessions in the evenings.
“That’s going to be geared towards the 18- to 24-year-olds,” Howard explained. “That’s a huge market that people aren’t actually aware of. It’s sort of become the new miniature golf.”
Ten More Franchises
The business partners are currently in the process of developing 10 franchises, each contributing to a network of tournaments. Their focus lies in the Midwest and southern regions.
The Louisville venue is slated to commence operations by the third quarter of the upcoming year. Howard disclosed that substantial investments, amounting to several million dollars, will be channeled into the facility’s renovation.
In terms of employment, the location is projected to hire approximately 15 to 25 full-time and part-time staff members. The proprietors are actively seeking individuals with local ties to the pickleball community to join their team.
A few members of our Corporate Team enjoyed supporting the Pros at the Major League Pickleball Tournament in Peachtree Corners, GA today!🏓#AcePickleballClub #APCRoswell #MajorLeaguePickleball #MLP #pickleball pic.twitter.com/LfkiQOWIdo— Ace Pickleball Club (@AcePBClub) September 22, 2023
A Louisville Native
Pacheco, a Louisville native with a background in real estate, emphasized the importance of selecting locations that structurally accommodate pickleball courts.
Ace Pickleball Club has granted over 60 franchise licenses across the U.S., with plans to develop these units in the next three years.
“We’re pretty strategic in where we chose to plant our first few flags,” Pacheco stated. “By the end of the year 2024, we’ll have the largest physical presence in the indoor pickleball space.”
Pacheco projected that by the close of 2023, the pickleball concept will have secured 15 signed leases nationwide, with an estimated investment of $200 million.
Furthermore, they anticipate having 40 to 50 signed leases by the conclusion of 2024.
At the helm of Ace Pickleball Club is CEO Jay Diederich. The concept originated from former members of the team at Sky Zone Trampoline Parks.
Pacheco explained, “Being part of the team [at Sky Zone], we saw how to work in recreation and franchising, and took that experience to Ace Pickleball Club, which we’ve been building from the ground up since 2020,”
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