Today we’d like to introduce you to Greg Kaidanov.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
We started at the church with about 20 dedicated fencers. The location was the Falls Church Episcopal and they were kind enough to rent us the space. After a year, multiple school programs and focused recruitment of brand new members who wanted to learn to fence, we were able to move into our own full-time 4500 sf facility. Over the next two years, we were building new elevated floor, top-of-the-line scoring, metal fencing strips, small gym and workout area. It was awesome to do and even more awesome to finish. Sadly, within two years we were outgrowing the space and our 80 fencers were barely fitting into the facility. There were nights when we would have over 60 fencers in the salle (fencing gym). Then one of our members (our current GM Donna) and one of my school coaches, an avid archer, made a suggestion of holding archery classes. Why not! we said and on the days like Saturday afternoons and Sundays, we held archery classes.
In December, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, we signed a lease for a 10,000 sf facility in the same shopping strip, next to REI and Gold’s Gym. In March, COVID shut us down. We did not reopen till June, we had almost no camp season, we were struggling. But, during this time, we refunded all the pre-registered folks for the summer camps that we could not have. Honesty, family, close relationship with our fencing member community, tremendous support from our fencers – all those factors allowed us to survive the worst of the pandemic. Now we are on the way out of the pandemic, stronger and better off than ever. We grew! We almost doubled in size with respect to our fencers and we gained many archers. We survived! And now we are looking forward to a great camp season (all camps are sold out) and to a successful upcoming fencing and archery competitive year.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Anything but smooth. COVID hit us at the worst possible time, we had to refund over $60,000 for canceled summer camps from the last summer, we were shut down for over two months. We had to learn all CDC and State safety protocols, we had to rethink our coaching, our programs, and our behavior. This was very challenging.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a fencing coach. First and foremost, I am an educator and a friend. With kids and adults, my goals are simple: make them better than they were before and give them joy and happiness. This is the mantra of our club. We do not have customers, we have friends and family. It is a very large family, but it is ours. I am most proud of the smallest success and the biggest smile from old and young.
Within the COVID-infected year, we managed to outgrow our 10000 sf facility and now we are looking at the space next to us that will be coming available soon. In our current space, every 2×4, every sheet of plywood, every drop of paint and every screw went through my hands. WE build this space, WE did it all! I was a class A contractor – makes it kind of easy. Now we might be doing it in the space two times this size. This is terrifying.
- Beginner Fencing Class – $175 for 8 class, includes equipment
- Explore Archery – $165 for 6 classes, includes equipment
- Private Fencing Lesson – $40 for 20 minute lesson
- Private Archery Lesson – $120 for 1 hour lesson
- Email: CoachGreg@NovaFencingClub.com
- Website: NovaFencingClub.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NovaFencingClub
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/nova-fencing-club-falls-church