He hopes this becomes a swingin' place

MICHAEL HINKELMAN / DAILY NEWS STAFF You can find David Gavigan at his batting-cage biz 7 days a week.
MICHAEL HINKELMAN / DAILY NEWS STAFF You can find David Gavigan at his batting-cage biz 7 days a week.
Posted: June 14, 2013

 DAVID GAVIGAN, 26, of Fishtown, is owner of Everybody Hits, a batting cage on West Girard Avenue near 6th Street that opened in mid-May. It's the only automatic batting cage near Center City and it's open every day from noon to 9 p.m. Gavigan, a native of Reading, moved here in 2009 after graduating from Penn State.

 Q: What were you doing before?

A: After college, I worked for a year with a nonprofit, Cradles to Crayons [which provides clothes and school supplies to homeless and low-income children.] I got the idea [for my business] . . . riding my bike past a lot of empty warehouses. I grew up practicing at an indoor batting cage. I'm a ballplayer and I thought it was crazy there weren't any in downtown Philly.

Q: Tell me about the business.

A: We have three automatic batting cages that do baseball and softball rounds of hitting. We have slow-pitch softball up through fast-pitch softball (40 to 60 mph) and also a variety of speeds in baseball, 40 to 70 mph.

Q: What's a round and how much does it cost?

A: A round is 16 pitches and costs $2.25, or you can get five rounds for $10.

Q: Who are your customers?

A: There are serious ballplayers and a lot of youth teams. It's a way to play baseball and build your skills year-round. I'm starting to get some fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball players. I would say two-thirds are between 8 and 12, and some high-schoolers, too. I require an adult to accompany kids.

Q: You rent the space here?

A: Yes, $2,500 a month.

Q: How big a business is this?

A: I'm it. I work seven days a week, nine hours a day. I had help building it. I'd like to add some part-time help but I want to see how the first six months go.

Q: How much startup money?

A: $100,000 from family and friends. I'm still taking in money and reinvesting it in the business.

Q: How many customers?

A: I've been getting about 15 to 20 per day, which is really where I need to be at right now.

Q: What do people spend?

A: The average is about $10.

Q: Is there something unique about your batting cages?

A: The history of the building is unique and dates to the 1890s. It was built as an indoor farmers market. After that, it became a movie theater and the screen is still hanging. I put a curtain over it so when balls are coming at people they aren't distracted.

Q: How did the biz plan evolve?

A: I went to the Small Business Development Center at Temple. I wrote a business plan and SBDC assigned a consultant to me. That helped me to raise money.

Q: What's next for the biz?

A: Some batting cages can be entertainment zones and fun centers but when you come here you listen to the [Phillies] game on the radio and it's a center for baseball. My goal is to produce some college-level baseball and softball players out of this batting cage.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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