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Sarasota Thursday, Jun. 17, 2010 7 years ago

Sarasota Small Business of the Year Awards: Serendipity Racquet Club

by: Stephanie Hannum Managing Editor

Serendipity Racquet Club certainly has made a name for itself in the past nine years — but, yet, it’s still one of the best-kept secrets in town.

Before it was Serendipity Racquet Club, the tennis center and facilities were part of the Country Club of Sarasota, the neighborhood in which it is located. In 2001, the country club tennis center became
Serendipity, when Gerd Petrik became the owner. His daughter, Sharon Petrik, came on board as executive manager in 2008 and has helped transform and update the tennis club.

The changes that have contributed to the ever-increasing memberships, now up to 470, include a new logo, website and menu and a new staircase to add more cohesion in the club, increased training for staff, increased management training and many newly developed membership types. Membership options went from four types to 14, including corporate memberships.

Serendipity has been reaching out to the community through sponsorships, but its main focus is on its members. To retain current members and add new members, the club offers membership open forums, perk programs for members and planned events such as its Memorial Day extravaganza, a full day of fun that was free to members and $5 to non-members. The day brought in more than 200 people and resulted in signing up 17 new members, said Operations Manager Kate Potts.

Serendipity has also added scuba diving, increased the amount of Cardio Tennis classes, acupuncture, junior program, bingo night, room rentals for private parties and corporate meetings, ping-pong tournaments, cornhole tournaments, bridge parties, water aerobics, holiday and themed events — and will soon be adding beach tennis and volleyball.

Being nominated for the Small Business of the Year Award served as a good reinforcement to Petrik and Potts about the decisions they’ve made and changes they’ve implemented.

“Serendipity is a private club where recreation and social interaction go hand-in-hand,” Potts said. “We create this atmosphere by providing innovative fitness, tennis and club activities so our members are always stimulated with new and exciting events.”


3600 Torrey Pines Blvd., Sarasota
Start date: 2001
Number of employees now: 30
Advice: To be flexible with your vision. Make adjustments as outside forces occur, but still stick with your overall vision.
Biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge is to provide a consistent balance of exemplary customer service in conjunction with maintaining a high level of employee morale.
Where do you see your business a year from now? We see our business improving every step of the way — we have memberships to add and room to grow. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.


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