We had the good fortune of connecting with Will Hamilton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Will, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I had just exited a small medical startup that was sold to a large hospital system, and being a part of that journey really inspired me to try it on my own. I come from a family of small-business owners, so I suppose part of that was in my blood all along. I had a background in the Health and Fitness industry, and from my recent experiences knew there was an opportunity to do it better. But the real motivator at the time that eventually lead me to pull the trigger was the birth of my first child. I knew my wife would be returning to the workplace, and I was determined to find a way to avoid having to put my son in daycare from an early age if at all possible. The best available solution to that was to be my own boss and create the kind of workplace where he could also be with me. Those two variables added together made this an easy decision.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
At its most basic level, Synergy is a gym. We engage in high-intensity functional workouts with the goal of pursuing excellence in health and fitness. That’s how it started, but it has evolved to something so much greater. Today, Synergy is a crossroads of all things health, nutrition, family, fun, and community. It’s a place a deep friendships, relationships, support, and love. It’s very hard to explain in words – it must be experienced. Having been around various gyms my entire life, I’ve truly never seen anything like it. There are so many facets of Synergy that I am extremely proud of. But if I had to choose just one thing – it’s the presence of strong women that continue to shape the culture of our business that makes me smile the most these days. People would be surprised to know that the vast majority of our members, all but two of our staff, and by far the most influential leaders in our business are all women! That’s a thing rarely associated with loud, sweaty, high intensity gyms full of barbells and weights flying around. But we truly have the most impressive group of women I’ve ever seen assembled in one place. They are strong, powerful, capable moms, professionals, and community leaders that support and empower each other on a constant pursuit of excellence. It’s humbling and inspiring to me. I don’t know how this happened as I had very little to do with it and can’t take any credit. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What a great question! Well we should start with food. Duh. Breakfast every morning would be at the White House Restaurant in Buckhead. It’s cheap, simple, and delicious. Just like breakfast should be. Lunch would be at the greatest restaurant in the country, EATS on Ponce. You get a meat and three. If you have any negative to say about this place, we are no longer friends and your trip ends immediately. For dinner we would start at Southbound for some good, reasonably priced (see a theme here?) Southern Fare. We would hit up a couple of the ethnic places on Buford Hwy that simply can’t be beat, and we would eventually splurge on a great steak at Bones or NY Prime. For entertainment we would steer clear of the tourist traps like the Aquarium and World of Coke. Instead, we would focus on all the great music this city is home to. We would start by catching a great summer or fall concert outdoors at Verizon Amphitheater. We’d then bring things down to a bit more intimate level by catching shows at the Tabernacle and Fox Theatre – two of the best concert venues in the South. And we couldn’t leave without going to Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, the famous listening room that was the launching ground for John Mayer so many others. If we had any energy left, we’d end the night by dancing our feet off at Johnny’s Hideway, and classic vintage Atlanta staple. We’d certainly have to grab some late-nite pizza afterwards at Fellini’s across the street to soak up the alcohol. In reality, this is all just a dream for me, haha. In all likelihood, I’d just take you for a fun day on Lake Lanier and then to dinner at the outdoor turf at Halcyon so we could watch the kids play, We’d be in bed by 10pm and ready to attend one of Atlanta’s amazing churches the next day. I’m pretty simple these days!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are countless people that have invested in me over the years that have played a huge part in the success of Synergy. My father taught me lessons in hard work, capability, and perseverance from an early age. He was also my first model of an entrepreneur. Fred Stuvek Jr., a Navy Football and business legend, was my first employer as an adult. He taught me a lot about leadership and the pursuit of excellence. His partner, Ken Manning, was one of the most influential mentors in my life and taught me almost everything else about running a business. He and a man named Chris Hagenstad really invested in me personally, and inspired the confidence in me that I could pull this off. That being said, Synergy does not exist without my wife Andrea. Without her hard work, sacrifice, and willingness to believe in me, this dream could have never happened.