Today we’d like to introduce you to John Letts.
John, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
iTennis was founded in 1998 by John Letts. John was a former United States national Junior Champion, All-American at Stanford, and Wimbledon competitor. He graduated from Stanford University and pursued a professional tennis career competing in all the Grand Slams in the 1980s. He attended Northwestern University School of Law and practiced Intellectual Property law in Chicago until moving back to California in 1998.
iTennis is a tennis instruction and management company. It contracts with local municipalities to create and run tennis programs at public tennis facilities. These programs include private and group lessons, tournaments, leagues, round robins, social mixers, and more.
Currently, iTennis manages the following facilities:
Plummer Park – West Hollywood (itennisweho.com)
Arroyo Seco Racquet Club – South Pasadena (astennis.com)
Rose Bowl Tennis – Pasadena (rosebowltennnis.com)
iTennis L.A. – Downtown (itennisla.com)
Arcadia Tennis center – Arcadia (arcadiatennis.com)
Whittier Narrows Tennis Center – South El Monte (itennisperformance.com)
Andulka Park Tennis Center – Riverside (andulkatennis.com)
John started with a single pro on a single court and has now grown to a multi-million dollar business with over 100 professional instructors and staff.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Fairly smooth road but at times obstacles because of the tension between organized play at public tennis facilities competing against free, open “drop-in” play at public parks.
Tough to ensure high quality and consistency with professional instructors of different backgrounds and experience.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the iTennis story. Tell us more about the business.
iTennis does tennis. People pick up the game for a number of reasons: get exercise, develop a new skill, meet new friends, etc. We strive to be able to serve the needs of our customers no matter what their needs and desires.
Particularly popular are our “live ball” tennis workouts for adults, where 6 to 8 adult players share a single court for fun games, and a great cardio workout directed by an iTennis pros. People like to have a set time to come and play tennis, get a great workout, and not have to worry about reserving a tennis court, setting up a match, etc. They know that every Thursday at 6:00 pm, for example, they can show up and have fun, get a great workout, and improve their game.
iTennis distinguishes itself as a tennis provider for the masses. Unlike private tennis clubs that charge high monthly fees and steep initiation fees, players at iTennis facilities can jump right in on the fun without having to spend a minor fortune. And iTennis distinguishes itself from inexpensive city parks & recreation programs, by having true tennis professionals who know what they are doing and enjoy helping their clients.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I was a bit lucky when getting my first contract to provide tennis services for the City of Pasadena. I was looking for a place to teach and called the City to inquire about who was currently teaching their parks & recreation classes. As it turned out, they were very unhappy at the time with their then vendor and were excited that someone new might be interested in taking the job. They told me to call back in three weeks as they were going to issue an “rfp” – request for proposal right away and that I should bid. So I was lucky to start in the business as the timing just happened to be right for me!
- Group tennis lessons/workouts: $20 per hour (one hour and 1.5-hour increments)
- Private lessons: from $60 to $100 per hour
- Membership options available at Arroyo Seco Racquet Club in South Pasadena from $70 to $90 per month
- Address: 920 Lohman Lane
- Website: www.i-tennis.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org