In 2009, Rob Gasko and Allen Meretsky packed up their respective cars and drove to Seton Hall University to begin their sophomore year as randomly assigned roommates. Now, almost 10 years later, Gasko and Meretsky are packing up a van full of exercise equipment and driving to clients’ houses as they attempt to revolutionize the fitness business with their at-home-gym franchise, GYMGUYZ.
Self-proclaimed “gym rats,” Meretsky, with experience as a personal trainer, and Gasko, with a background in sports, combine convience and creativity to ensure a unique and individual fitness routine for every client.
“Convenience is our biggest selling point,” Gasko said. “It’s completely mobile.”
Gasko ’11 and Meretsky ’10 said they wanted to start a business together since their first meeting as students at SHU’s Stillman School of Business. However, their dream did not come to fruition until years after graduation.
Gasko, a marketing major, began a career in sales while Meretsky took a job in the finance division of corporate America.
“We’re not experienced entrepreneurs,” Meretsky said. “We have other experiences we’re putting together.”
These experiences refer back to Stillman teachings where students applied what they learned in the classroom to real world scenarios.
“The school is focused on both the theory and the practice,” said Elven Riley, a professor in the Department of Finance who taught both Meretsky and Gasko.
Dr. Daniel Ladik, a former marketing professor of Gasko’s, creates live student marketing projects for real clients.
“Stillman prepares [students] for all possibilities,” Ladik said.
Gasko and Meretsky attribute their success to professors such as Riley and Ladik who “[put them]in uncomfortable situations” that forced them to grow and mature.
Both alumni said they gained a sense of maturity, pride and confidence while at SHU.
“Once you get through college you believe in yourself,” Gasko said.
Gasko explained that having professors who were not just teachers, but who had real life experience and taught in practical terms was a great advantage.
Meretsky found his peers to be the most influential in driving him toward his goals.
“Friends who were like-minded and ambitious, having those people around you is huge,” Meretsky said.
“They don’t give up,” Dr. Ladik said, regarding the business students at Seton Hall. “It’s a grittiness, a doggedness.”
Gasko and Meretsky’s “grittiness” has allowed them to build their business across Monmouth County and they hope to one day become the largest fitness franchise in the area.
According to Ladik, in order to do this “[Gasko and Meretsky] have to keep learning. They can’t keep static.”
Gasko encourages perspective entrepreneurs to seek un-comfortability, to go outside their comfort zones.
“Be patient. I can’t be more thankful for my experiences,” Meretsky said. “Try jobs, get out and learn, be willing to take on risk.”
Most importantly, Gasko and Meretsky said that one must have ambition. “If you don’t have a vision of where you are going to be, you don’t have anything to fight for,” Gasko said.
Payton Seda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.