One-stop sports and health lifestyle center envisioned

Filed under: Daily News,News,Print | Tags:

On the green: Jonathan Dron, director of instruction at Sportz Skillz in Colorado Springs, gives a lesson to Terri Stephens in front of a computer-enhanced backdrop of the Pebble Beach, Calif. golf course.

Grace Keirnes is on her way to redefining the term lifestyle center.

In November, she opened Sportz Skillz Golf and Tennis Center, a 7,500-square-foot training facility in a shopping center next door to Colorado Ski and Golf store at N. Academy and Montebello Square Drive in Colorado Springs.

The proximity between the two businesses is no coincidence.

Keirnes is the owner of both Sportz Skillz and the 100,000-square-foot shopping center where the training facility is located.

It’s part of her master plan to create a sports and health lifestyle center, she said.

A sports enthusiast, Keirnes’ vision of the shopping center she calls Peak Lifestyle Center is a one-stop shop complex that mixes retail with recreational services. While developers have typically referred to lifestyle centers as upscale with high-end boutique stores, Keirnes’ sees her lifestyle center as a sports and health hub.

“Typically a retail lifestyle center is a shopping center where they have added some benches and trees,” Keirnes said. “We are the true definition of a lifestyle center — we offer the opportunity to buy golf clubs, drop your kid off at dance, go to the batting cage, get your hair done your dog groomed and take a golf lesson.”

Sportz Skillz features two indoor putting greens, a PGA Tour Golf Simulator, K-Vest 3D technology that analyzes a person’s golf swing, a driving range and a children’s tennis court. Costs range from $35 for an hour on the simulator to $80 for an hour of private lessons with golf pro Jonathan Dron.

“It’s a very holistic approach to golf — come take a lesson, get on the simulator and then hit some balls,” Keirnes said.

Sportz Skillz joins a business line-up in the shopping center that also includes the Bicycle Village, Kempo Karate, The Rage Salon and Spa, Synergy Dance and Rocky Mountain Batting Cage. Keirnes has hired consultants and marketing experts and hopes to create a scene at the shopping center that will include farmers’ markets and sports and health events.

“We are headed to a vibrant and really rich mix of lifestyle, fitness and recreation businesses that really support each other,” Keirnes said.

Keirnes grew up playing tennis. But, she also grew up paying close attention to her father’s business dealings — commercial real estate, business and land development in northern Colorado. When she was only 11-years-old, she pleaded with him to take her on business meetings.

“I have always had a desire to be involved,” she said of her father’s business.

Keirnes got her commercial real estate license after high school and now at age 22, she is driving the direction of the shopping center that her father bought more than 10 years ago.

Her first step from landlord to tenant happened three years ago when a salon and spa inside the Keirnes’ shopping center was about to go under. Keirnes stepped in as the new owner and brought the salon back to life — from three stylists to 21.

She formed Peak Lifestyle Ventures and officially entered into retail business. By year’s end Peak Lifestyle Ventures will own four businesses inside the shopping center — Sportz Skillz, The Rage salon and day spa, Peak Healthstyles Fitness Studio and Prrxz coffee shop and market — and employ 32 people.

“We know what our business knowledge is and we know what we are capable of,” Keirnes said. “We felt like we would be willing and very comfortable making a bet on ourselves verses putting that bet on another tenant.”

Although she is not a golfer, Keirnes said she understands the passion that golfers have for the game. Not long ago, she saw a PGA Tour Golf Simulator in a Denver store and thought it would be perfect for Colorado Springs, where the golf season is often cut short because of weather.

The weather report inside Sports Skillz is always 72 degrees and no wind, she said.

This summer, the buzz about golf has been growing as the city approaches the July 4-10 U.S. Women’s Open, which will showcase just about every major player in the women’s golf tour. Already Sportz Skills golf pro Jonathan Dron has noticed an increased interest in golf from moms who want to take their daughters to the games.

Colorado Ski and Golf store manager John Buell said the hype surrounding the games usually translates into a bump in sales following the tournament, like what happened following the 2008 U.S. Men’s Senior Open.

“After the tournament, people are more jazzed about golf,” he said.

Keirnes is hoping that hype leads to more children wanting to learn the game. This summer, Sportz Skillz starts its Titlelist Performance Institute Junior Golf Academy for children ages 2 to 18.

Sportz Skillz also starts its junior tennis lessons with tennis pro Caryl Abeyta, who follows the U.S. Tennis Association’s quick-start tennis program for children ages 2 to 10.

“This really gets them headed in the direction of playing on their high school or college team,” Keirnes said.

Keirnes shopping center is 90 percent occupied and she’ll be on the hunt for businesses that fit her sports and health theme, she said.

“We are taking the lifestyle center concept to a whole new level,” she said.