Whether teaching cartwheels to youngsters, coaching skilled gymnasts or mentoring employees, Jeff has been teaching in one form or another his entire adult life.

Today, he divides his time between the world famous 108,000 sf, $6.2M Kids First Sports Center (home of Queen City Gymnastics), The Campus at Kids First Early Learning Center (opened January, 2013), the Small Business BOOT CAMP and speaking engagements.

Through the Small Business BOOT CAMP, Jeff shares his unique approach to business with industry professionals all over the world. Jeff feels the reason he relates so well to business operators is because in his 40 year career he has experienced and successfully dealt with virtually every struggle known to the industrys.

“First and last, I am a teacher. For me, there is no greater satisfaction than helping others find success and enjoyment in their life through their business. That I have been able to balance my personal life with my entrepreneurial success is a dream come true. A major goal of Boot Camp is to help others achieve the same balance”.

Jeff and Penny, his wife, have five children and nine grandchildren. Jeff’s personal time is divided between family and friends, playing pickleball, reading and travel.

Corporate Fact Sheet-Kids First Sports Center


Allow me to debunk the MYTH that BOOT CAMP is for large clubs:

It all started in a church multipurpose room in 1972 about a mile from Kids First’s current location. Along my 40 year journey I experience each and every financial, emotional and leadership challenge a small business could invent. Most were frustrating and a few were downright scary. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned and as time passed Kids First grew to be the largest single store operation in our industry. It is this very fact—our size—that lends credence to the MYTH that Boot Camp is for giant clubs or clubs who want to become as big as Kids First. This is simply not true… Boot Camp is for anyone who wants to learn the secrets behind developing a vital and profitable business that is driven by responsible and loyal employees. Something often misunderstood is that time is a factor. The longer a business fails to develop a culture of vitality, responsibility and loyalty the more difficult it becomes to do so. We mean it literally when we say, the best time to attend Boot Camp is before a business opens its doors…and the next best time is NOW. See you in Cincinnati, Jeff Metzger

(exceeding industry standards by multiples)

  • At peak Total Enrollment of 4500 students (not including birthday parties, day camps, etc.), Kids First exceeds industry averages by 5.2x and the industry mean by 7.1x.
  • Kids First has ‘saturated’ 16.6% of its primary market area, almost 4x the industry average in suburban markets and almost 2x the next closest club!
  • At peak ‘Gymnastics Only’ Enrollment of 2350 students, Kids First exceeds industry averages by almost 3.5x and the industry mean by almost 4x.
  • At Peak ‘Gymnastics Only’ Enrollment, Kids First ‘saturates’ 8.2% of its primary market area, over 2x industry average in suburban markets.
  • Kids First revenue exceeds industry averages by 5.2x and the mean by 7.5.
  • Kids First’s all-in profit exceeds industry averages by 16x.
  • Kids First Foot Traffic is 15,000 per week.

As important as demographics is for success in our industry, it must be stressed, there is nothing special about Kids First’s demographics. There are many, many, many USA locations with equal or stronger demographics. Like the Tortoise, Kids First’s success comes from doggedly tending to the basics. The formula is simple: it is amazing what can happen when a business identifies a sound strategy, operates within people-centered universal principles and has the discipline to stay the course.

(things don’t happen by accident)

  • Olympic cycle be darned: in our 40 YEARS, our Company has NEVER experienced a year where revenue did not increase over the previous year. Every year revenue has increased. How many businesses in any industry can make that claim? It sometimes surprises people to learn that Kids First did not experienced this growth by doing anything particularly dramatic. We identified who we are, what we believe in and have stayed the course through thick and thin.
  • Since the 1988 Kids First ‘evolution’, Queen City Gymnastics has AVERAGED 2.6th place at ALL levels of Jr. Olympic Gymnastics State Meets of Ohio, a very competitive state with hundreds of clubs. Over the decades, I doubt there is another club in the nation that has the long term competitive record as do we. The point: if you choose, you can run a great business and develop great teams.

(we are clearly doing something right)

  • A couple decades ago we realized we had to get a firm grasp on the art of hiring. It was slow at first but, now, finding and developing great, responsible, loyal staff is probably the thing Kids First does best! This ‘collective skill’ happened gradually, over 40 years, but were we to start all over, we feel we could cut the time it takes to build a world class staff down to 2-5 years. That is the value of the applied knowledge and wisdom available at BOOT CAMP.
  • Included in Kids First’s Core Concept is a public proclamation that ‘we train world class leaders.’ It is fair to say, any of our Department Leaders would be considered a first class ‘catch’ for probably any club in the nation. Fortunately, however, our Department Leaders seldom resign and when they do, typically it is with months of notice. Their loyalty is astounding. While you are at BOOT CAMP you will find a huge amount of energy dedicated to the art of hiring and inspiring a loyal, responsible Crew, the single most important skill a Leader must learn. Period. Plus, at BOOT CAMP, you will be able to hear from ‘the other side of the coin’ and learn from Kids First Department Leaders how Kids First generates this loyalty (‘as you will learn, compensation’ is NOT the key).