Matt Ip: Could you please introduce yourself?
Jayme O’Connell: My name is Jayme O'Connell, and I am a business owner and co-business owner. I'm also a proud mom. I was born in Pittsburgh, and I have been living in Gainesville, Florida for quite some time now.
Matt Ip: I love the story behind OG Skate Park. Can you tell me some more about it?
Jayme O’Connell: OG Skate Park is driven by our daughter, who is a five-and-a-half-year-old thrill-seeker with cerebral palsy. Since she is unable to walk on her own, my husband supports her as she explores the skate park. During a trip to Mexico, we had an in-depth conversation with a skateboard enthusiast who introduced us to a recreational center offering a skateboarding ramp, and it sparked something inside of us.
Both my husband and I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, having run separate businesses in the past. We are always contemplating what our next venture should be, considering not just ourselves but also our children. After exploring numerous ideas, we realized there was a significant lack of indoor parks, especially in Florida where the weather is often too hot or unpredictable. Outdoor parks without lights are not feasible here. However, recalling our experience in Mexico, we started envisioning the opportunity to provide a safe environment for our daughter and other special needs children. The more we delved into the idea, the more we fell in love with it.
Our plans for OG Skate Park go beyond just a skate park. We envision hosting various events, including roller derby and extreme BMX. Furthermore, we are increasingly drawn to the disability side of skateboarding and the prospect of teaching people how to skate. With skateboarding being inducted into the Olympics in 2021 and set to be included in the Paralympics, we aspire to become a training facility for these athletes. This endeavor not only offers our daughter an opportunity to grow up in a positive environment but also contributes to the broader mission of advancing the sport.
We have had discussions with para-athletes and renowned skateboarders. My husband, who has been skateboarding since he was a child, receives immense appreciation. Kids, especially, admire him as a 47-year-old skateboarder, offering them hope and inspiration. Many people give up on their passions once they grow up and have other responsibilities, but my husband's unwavering passion for skateboarding continues to inspire us.
Among the countless ideas we considered, this particular one resonated deeply with us. While we have other hobbies, we are emotionally invested in this endeavor, not just financially or in terms of achieving numerical success. Our ultimate goal is to create a beautiful environment where our daughter and other kids with disabilities can thrive.
PW: What motivated you to get started in the Restaurant industry?
Jayme O’Connell: Our daughter and the upcoming Paralympics served as significant motivators. We aimed to create more than just an ordinary facility where kids hang out. We strive to establish a phenomenal, world-class facility where people can practice and learn, grooming the next generation of athletes.
Matt Ip: What would you say your mission is in the industry?
Jayme O’Connell: Our mission is to elevate skateboarding to new heights and change the prevailing narrative, removing the negative stigma associated with the sport. We aim to demonstrate that skateboarding is not only a demanding endeavor but also a fantastic form of exercise and a beautiful sport.
One of the most incredible aspects of skateboarding is the sense of camaraderie it fosters. For instance, there was a recent incident where a young skater struggled with a skill, and the entire community rallied together to help him master the trick. Witnessing everyone at the park come together to support and cheer him on was truly inspiring. Unfortunately, such solidarity is often rare in today's highly competitive world. Thus, we are dedicated to nurturing a positive environment like that in our skate park. We recently attended an event in Tampa, where all the athletes, including the big names, were cheering for one another, reinforcing the incredible spirit within the skateboarding community.
The Business Plan provided by the Plan Writers has been incredibly beneficial to our business. It has brought a significant level of realism to our vision and enabled us to grasp the fundraising goals we needed to achieve, as well as the untapped potential within our venture.
Matt Ip: How has a Business Plan, written by the Plan Writers, helped you and your business?
Jayme O’Connell: The Business Plan provided by the Plan Writers has been incredibly beneficial to our business. It has brought a significant level of realism to our vision and enabled us to grasp the fundraising goals we needed to achieve, as well as the untapped potential within our venture. Initially, our focus was solely on the skate park, but as we worked through the plan, we discovered that our business had the potential for even greater growth. The plan added clarity, shedding light on other crucial aspects of our business and identifying areas where we could expand and improve.
Also, the Business Plan has helped communicate our seriousness and dedication to others. It serves as a testament to our commitment and has instilled confidence in stakeholders and potential partners who now recognize the depth of our vision and objectives.
Matt Ip: Would you recommend the Plan Writers to other business owners?
Jayme O’Connell: Without hesitation, I would absolutely recommend the Plan Writers to other business owners. Their expertise and guidance have been invaluable in shaping our business and setting a solid foundation for success. The level of professionalism, attention to detail, and understanding of our unique needs were truly impressive. The Plan Writers have played a significant role in our journey, and we wholeheartedly believe they can do the same for other business owners seeking to develop a comprehensive and effective business plan.
The Kleiner and O’Connell Family is what lies at the heart of OG Skate Park. It is their likeability, their spirit of perseverance and service, and their work ethic that will drive this business.
Ian Kleiner is a co-founder and co-owner of OG Skate Park. Ian has owned his own successful landscape business for 12 years. Ian is an avid, lifelong skateboarder who has the talent and business savvy to run a business that will bring up a new generation of skateboarders. Ian is a long time Skateboarder, a real OG! He started skating in Key West, got his first skateboarding ticket at the age of 13 on Madeira Beach, and he never looked back! He's skated parks all over the country and in numerous countries the world over. He enjoys getting in at least one session a day and he's taught his own kids to skat. Ian loves to inspire younger generations of skaters to keep on skating! The vision for OGSP will truly bring inter-generational joy to skaters and families of Gainesville.
Jayme O’Connell is a co-founder and co-owner of OG Skate Park. Jayme has a wide background that includes management, 15 years of sales experience, and being an Event Coordinator for 20+years. She has been the Office Manager for Ian’s successful landscaping business for 12 years. Jayme has always been an entrepreneur. She ran a successful sales team for a worldwide wellness & intimacy MLM, while being a full-time mom during the day and an EMT student at night, eventually earning her NREMT License and continuing on to Paramedic Classes. She and Ian have been together for 12 years. She took over office Management of Ian's company when the kids were all in school to help his business grow.
Ivy. When their youngest daughter Ivy Lee was born in 2017, their life and focus changed to her, and they became full-time caregivers. At birth Ivy Lee was diagnosed with HIE, Laryngomalacia, Cerebral Palsy, and was G-Tube fed. Now that Ivy is doing well, and started Kindergarten, they have more time on their hands and want to enrich their community and build a legacy business for their family.