Our company was formerly known as Lee’s Ultimate Thai Kickboxing, which started off as a small one-man operation in the summer of 2004. The founder, Warren Lee, was working at the Toronto District School Board as a high school teacher and operated this business on the side. The idea to start the business came after a person requested a private Muay Thai kickboxing lesson and paid $40 for the hour. This led Warren to believe that there was a bigger market out there.
And so it began in early June 2004 – armed with an Ontario sole proprietorship business number, two dozen flyers, a hundred business cards, a makeshift website (www.leeskickboxing.com), Release of Liability waiver form, pair of Thai pads, boxing gloves and a skipping rope, he was ready to stake his claim. His advertising strategy consisted of pitching up a few flyers and taking out some small ads in the classified section of the local community papers. He started off by giving only private Muay Thai kickboxing lessons at people’s homes and at some empty rooms at Hart House, University of Toronto.
The situation couldn’t be better: As a part-time commerce student at U of T, Warren successfully experimented with and implemented various marketing strategies learned in classes to the kickboxing business. This resulted in an increase in the number of calls for kickboxing lessons, but with many more people wanting to do group classes instead of the more expensive private lessons. In order to cater to more customers, Warren found an opportunity to give group classes out of an old industrial King St. W. location by New Year 2005. And for the whole time he stayed true to an old yet simple business principle: offer an exceptional and consistent service at a price that customers love, but competitors hate.
Within several months, the gym boomed. People loved the workout, the synergy and the opportunity to learn self-defence at the same time. Classes were filling up. A team of instructors was assembled, additional classes were added to meet demand, and soon enough every single class became packed. The situation demanded attention when people starting leaving because classes became too full and there was not enough room to train in. The only solution would be to expand into a larger facility, and to keep the present members happy by staying within the downtown core.
The search for a new space began in the New Year of 2006 and resulted in finding and moving into our current Queen St. W. location in June 2006. Lee’s Ultimate Thai Kickboxing was then rebranded and renamed Toronto Kickboxing & Muay Thai Academy Inc. (or TKMT for short) and a fine team of instructors and fighters had been built. Warren Lee has quit his job with the Toronto District School Board right after finishing the school year in June 2006 and now focuses on establishing TKMT as a leading brand name and expansion by opening several TKMT gyms in strategic locations across the Greater Toronto Area over the next several years.