17 Jun The story behind the KC Crew
Welcome. Not only to our new website(spiffy, huh?) but to Kansas City. Whether you’ve been here for years or just moved in town yesterday, welcome.
I moved to Kansas City in 2008 for a job and spent several years driving from Overland Park to Downtown Kansas City for that job every day and didn’t enjoy that traffic on i35. When I finally moved Downtown, I started driving back out to Overland Park to play Sand Volleyball and I wasn’t meeting that many new people living that way. The ones I did meet expressed the need for a better softball or kickball league or even Sand Volleyball league since there weren’t any downtown in 2012.
After a couple of cocktails (of course) my friends and I started talking about starting our own league downtown and we’d make it so AWESOME! Waking up the next day the only thing that peeked thru a slight hangover was “how hard can it be”? Little did I know, it was very hard.
It started with renting a softball field and a sand volleyball court near downtown. Being that I went to college for computer science and graphic design I created a logo and built a website, told some friends and that’s how KC Crew was born.
Why KC Crew? I am from Southeast Missouri and most of my high school and college friends moved to St. Louis after school. There were a couple of us who came to Kansas City and every time I’d come to visit them in St Louis they’d always say, “oh hey, the KC Crew is here”. I loved that feeling because honestly, we had become a small little family in Kansas City and did everything together. I wanted to recreate that in KC Crew. I wasn’t sure how, but I figured it could start with the name.
That first year in 2012, still working my full-time job and leaving every day at 5pm to set up fields and umpire games, KC Crew had almost 1,000 people play softball or sand volleyball. I couldn’t believe it. Fast forward to 2014 and we had almost 3,000 participants and I was still working my full-time job. A larger company in town actually offered to purchase KC Crew for a lot of money and I thought if they want this after me not putting in much effort for 3 years let’s show them what I can really do. So I left my job at the end of 2014 and never looked back.
Ok that’s not the truth. I looked back a lot! Being a computer science major and graphic design minor, you don’t take very many business courses. Turns out, I went out on my own at the worst possible time because in 2014 I was only doing Spring, Summer and Fall leagues so Winter meant no leagues and no income. After cutting every expense in my life that wasn’t necessary and living off savings for 6 months, I finally started paying myself. That felt really good. Oh and I very quickly added Winter leagues and even made up a season, Holiday(Nov & Dec) so that we were running leagues year round January thru December.
Last year in 2017, I finally took the equipment out of my garage and moved into an office in the Crossroads. Thank god! I was done with umpires showing up every night to pick up equipment from my house. Also, in 2017, KC Crew had almost 10,000 participants playing in or near Downtown. With 3 full time and 15 part time employees I still remember what it was like with just me. I’m so happy I can offer the fun and freedom to not only KC Crew’s employees but to the community I’ve come to love.
Fast forward to today, June 12th of 2018. We now have 5 full time and about 40 part-time employee. 2018 has brought more than I could ever imagine. We partnered with the City of Overland Park, the City of Belton, Park Lanes and Aaron’s Family Fun Center to launch KC Crew South which gives those communities the same awesomeness that we deliver to Downtown. We also partnered with The Sandbox at Powerplay to launch KC Crew Northland which is growing faster than we projected. Our new software to manage leagues, LeagueAlly, just launched this year and is not only allowing us to expand throughout the metro but it’s helping other leagues and facilities run their leagues with the same efficiency of KC Crew. We are also designing our new offices in the old Kemper, now HyVee Arena, and helping them build a software to manage their space. We are also working to take one of our first events ever created, End of the World Pub Crawl, to Philadelphia, Houston, and Detroit. Oh and as if we aren’t doing enough this year, I’m getting marriedin September. Love you Katy!
This is my first blog post and I wanted to put a little of the story down for others to read and also catch up on what we are currently working on at KC Crew. I hope you enjoyed it and if there’s anything I can help you with, please let me know.
Founder of Awesome