Ex-Target Store Director Brings New Youth Sports Business to Minneapolis

Ex-Target Store Director Brings New Youth Sports Business to Minneapolis

Janson Kinsley’s new business launches its first leagues in September. Here’s what makes them different.

Janson Kinsley has always enjoyed building teams and mentoring and developing those around him. It was true as a multi-sport athlete in high school, during his time as a free safety for the West Point football team, during his six years in the Army, and during his 11-year career as a store director for Target.

Target was good to him. He met his wife, Amy, who was also a store director. He made good money. But he also worked 60- to 70-hour weeks, including weekends, nights, and holidays. That wasn’t great for a dad with one young child and another on the way. And as he moved higher up the management chain, he found himself doing less and less of the mentoring that he loved.

It was time for a change. He discovered i9 Sports while exploring business opportunities and was excited to find a franchise that combined his love of sports and his passion for mentorship with strong support for a first-time business owner.

Now, he and his wife, Amy, are launching their own i9 Sports business serving Champlin, Ramsey, and Elk River, Minnesota. The first leagues launch in September.

“For me, it is all about trying to give other kids the opportunities that I was afforded growing up,” Janson says. “Looking at my life in sports, it opened doors I otherwise wouldn’t have had open. Going to a prestigious school like West Point wouldn’t have happened without football. In my Army life, while being deployed and leading teams in combat situations I leaned on lessons I had learned from sports. As a store director, I used lessons in teamwork daily. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am.”

Four young children play soccer with a coach in the background. A young African-American girl is smiling and about to kick the soccer ball.

How i9 Sports stands out

i9 Sports provides a youth sports experience unlike any other, teaching the importance of good sportsmanship on the field and in life. The brand is committed to providing age-appropriate instruction, making sports fun for kids, and making youth sports participation convenient for today’s busy families.

Janson says the convenience factor is resonating with a lot of the families who have registered kids to play this fall. Unlike many youth leagues that practice 2 to 3 days during the work week and then play games on the weekend, i9 Sports players practice on Saturday and then immediately put their new lessons to work during games the same day. That helps the practice lessons have immediate pay-off for the kids. It also reduces scheduling hassles for parents — making it much easier for them to fit youth sports into their lives.

While i9 Sports offers programs for kids aged 3-14, the Kinsleys are especially excited to offer more sports opportunities for kids at the younger end of the spectrum, who don’t have many options for organized sports play. The lessons are age-appropriate and fun, and they create the opportunity for kids to fall in love with sports at an early age. The Kinsleys have another goal to build leagues for older kids that maintain a focus on sportsmanship and fun, reducing the high-stress hyper-competitiveness that causes many kids to stop playing as they get older.

He has plenty of help. He’s been leaning on fellow i9 Sports owners around the country for advice, and on the brand’s home office support team for training and game plans to help him get his business off to a solid start. Amy is still a store director at Target, which provides steady income while they ramp up the business, but she is also handling social media and some administrative work for their young enterprise — all while juggling their 6-year-old son Carter and 2-month-old daughter Harper.

“For me, the biggest learning curve has been the marketing aspect of it,” Janson says. “I am spending the bulk of time doing that, especially since we’re the first to bring i9 Sports to the Minneapolis market. I knew I would need help, but the home office has been absurdly supportive with teaching that skill set and providing the resources to help me learn.”

Own a youth sports franchise

i9 Sports is growing quickly, with dozens of new locations set to open in the coming months. We’re already a nationwide brand and have been named one of the best franchises you can start with less than $100,000. Click here to see if your territory is still available.

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