Gold Winning as Best Sporting Goods Store in Miami Dade, by Miami Herald!
Varujan Burmaian had a dream of opening a store in Miami in the late 80’s. He was a first generation Brazilian, born 3 years after his grandfather had arrived in Brazil as an Armenian refugee. Varujan worked hard, and built up a shoe repair business in Sao Paulo.
His dream was to be part of the American business community where he could learn and grow his business. In the 1980’s he shipped a container of shoes to Miami but never was able to secure a location.
Forty years later, November, 2010, his son worked to fulfill his father’s dream.
In business, sometimes we are successful because we are smart or work hard, and sometimes we are lucky. In this case, his son was lucky. He was on the internet one night, looking at shoe stores in Miami and stumbled upon Alton Sports in Motion. Two tennis coaches, sisters, Alice Casting and Marta Gross owned the store, and were looking to sell it. They had a very good reputation in the Miami tennis community. He knew instantly that it was the one, and on an impulse decided to buy it.
The new owners completed the purchase and embarked on a full renovation of the store, as well as rented the stores on either side to expand their floorplan.
Many things get in the way of success and this venture was no different. At that time, owners were unaware that Alton Road was about to close for two years to fix the road and infrastructure due to flooding, and would severely impact its foot traffic. Many stores on this street went out of business. They hung in there, and decided to keep their fathers’ vision alive. They went for about 10 years with no profit, but not willing to give up. They knew that they had great product and the right service model, and they have continued on.
World Tennis, kept the Alton Sports in Motion name for 4 years, and in 2014 secured the rights to change it to World Tennis.
Why have they been successful? Because they knew that great customer service was the key to long term success. Customers have so many options to purchase products, and the market is more competitive that it has ever been. The only real differentiator over time is treat customers like gold. If customers feel like you are focused on them and care about them, they are willing to pay more, will keep coming back, and talk about their experience.
Secondly, Miami World Tennis has an excellent manager at the store. Leny Kou has been running the store for 5 years. She sets the tone for the staff, constantly training them, and making sure that they never stop improving the customer experience.
Leny is also a tennis player, as well as all the staff. They understand their customers, since they also play the sport. That gives them expertise and credibility with all tennis players level.
When you hire employees who are passionate about the product, it is much easier to sell. Their customers experience that passion, and know that they are getting the best service and best effort from the World Tennis staff.
As all businesses, it starts with a dream, in this case, their father’s dream. Then it takes people to bring the dream to life.
World Tennis has 450 stores in Brazil, and understand that sports translate across all cultures. World Tennis is in a unique position to take their learnings and share them between their U.S. and Brazil operations.
They have plans for additional expansion in the Miami area and look forward to gearing up and serving casual athletes as well as pros, so that everyone can enjoy the sports experience.
Thank you Miami for voting on us!!
Miami Herald, December 17th, 2023.
Read the article on Miami Herald's here.