It will be a very Merry Christmas for the KTP racquet club if everything goes according to plan.
“I’m pretty ecstatic, to be honest, it's starting to settle in that this is a reality at this point,” says club owner Kurt Templemans Plat who is leasing a location in the North Bay Mall on Lakeshore Drive as the permanent home for KTP, with an expected opening date of December 1 according to their website.
“When we signed the lease, that was the first step and when we got in there and started to do some work and clearing stuff out and removing the dropped ceiling, you can actually envision the space a lot better now. It’s Unbelievable.”
The search for a home has been a long one for Templemans Plat.
“We’ve been looking for a space for the last three years now, we’ve had really bad luck in finding something that is the right height and the right square footage. There’s not a lot of available warehouses with that range in the city,” he says.
“I looked at this exact same space that we have now about three years ago, but at the time it was out of our price range. When we were looking recently, especially with all the school gyms being shut down for community use we thought, well we might as well look again even though it didn’t work before. So we went back and we were able to strike a deal and here we are.”
But this spot that is just behind Galaxy Cinemas is an ideal fit as far as Templemans Plat is concerned, although there is work that needs to be done.
“We’re fortunate that the space is quite perfect in terms of the layout,” he says. “We don’t have to add or destroy any walls, but we do have to raise all the sprinkler heads. We have to repair some of the plumbing and upgrade some of the fixtures. We need to rewire the hydro coming in. After that it's just setting up our own stuff like furniture for the lounge or laying out the courts. We own most of those things already. What hasn’t been an opportunity for others right now has really been an opportunity for us as we’ve been picking up a lot of shelves and fixtures and tables and so we’re going to be very well furnished.”
During the last few months, the club had operated out of the Granite Club.
“We were closed from March until May 19th and then we were eligible to open so we quickly secured the Granite Club for the summer,” he says.
“That was really the first time we’ve been set up permanently for any period of time. It was a really good test run as to what our own facility could feel like and getting people in and out of the door and lots of new clients. I’d say it was a pretty successful summer of getting new people to come in and check us out. It just reinforced what we are trying to do and that’s, give people something to look forward to, in terms of an indoor rec centre type of facility in this city.”
This is a scenario which Templemans Plat had always hoped he would find himself in and one that could really boost the exposure of the club.
“I’ve tried to explain to people over the years that even though I am running this business, I’m doing a lot of work that takes away from the core of this business,” he says. “Setting up all the leases across four or five different schools. Moving our equipment every day. Figuring out where our next practices are going to be. It takes away from focusing on memberships and practices and introducing other court sports like Pickle Ball. With this space now I can expand all those programs and I’ve got a lot of opportunities on the back burner such as having some of the biggest racquet sports companies in the world are now able to supply us with banners or sponsor our staff with equipment and we can deck out our whole store. Those people knew we were here in North Bay and now we have those opportunities to expand. I think the sky’s the limit.”
This could also breathe some economic life into the West Ferris area.
“I know these aren’t the most popular sports in the world but its something to do. Especially during these times people are really looking at places to go, just to get out of the house.”
“I’ve always loved this end of town,” continues Templemans Plat. “When I moved to this city as a kid we lived here for a bit. I went to school at the old Heritage School on Lakeshore. So, this has always been that nostalgic area of town for me.”
Templemans Plat says, “I think this creates a really cool entertainment hub. You’ve got Galaxy Cinemas, you’ve got a few restaurants, you’ve got the World Gym and now us. I think for the North Bay Mall, and the city, this is a great opportunity to keep investing in this area and adding to the excitement that we’re bringing here.”