Phil Garrett, Apex Leadership Company, Franchise

Apex Leadership Franchise Owner In Tennessee Brings Fitness-Focused Events To Schools

Apex Leadership franchise owner Phil Garrett raises millions for schools, empowers youth, and inspires Black entrepreneurs at 34.

Apex Leadership Company is a unique child enrichment franchise raising millions annually for schools through fitness-focused events such as fun runs and obstacle courses. Phil Garrett is the owner and area director for the Greater Chattanooga and Knoxville areas and has achieved great success with the franchise, averaging more than $27,000 per fundraiser. His story is a testament to his business acumen and commitment to making a meaningful impact in local communities –- all at 34.

Before starting his Apex Leadership franchise, Garrett held diverse roles in retail, banking, and as a district executive with the Boy Scouts of America, but he soon realized the corporate path wasn’t his calling. He sought a career blending his passion for helping youth with family and professional goals. At just 28 years old, Garrett made the bold leap into franchise entrepreneurship, recognizing how Apex aligned with his love for youth and community impact. Garret shared with BLACK ENTERPRISE the uniqueness of the Apex Leadership franchise and why he sees it as a great business opportunity for Black entrepreneurs, millennials, and Gen Z. 

BLACK ENTERPRISE: What is your role as an Apex Leadership franchise owner?

PHIL GARRETT: My role as the owner is to foster the growth of Apex in the Chattanooga and Knoxville areas. Overseeing a team of 10 employees, I manage various aspects of our two-week leadership program, including hiring, sales, training, and motivation. The goal is to maximize fundraising efforts at each school, with a focus on building both great leaders among the students we serve and developing my staff into impactful leaders within the schools.

BE: What does it look like when an Apex program is executed?

GARRETT: Our two-week program kicks off with a teacher huddle, bringing educators up to speed. The following day, we launch our fundraiser with an energetic pep rally involving 500-600 students engaging in dancing, games, prizes, and an introduction to the exciting journey ahead. The team then visits each classroom over the next six days, discussing character-building habits based on our annual theme. The program culminates in our Apex Event, a fundraising activity like running, dancing/fitness moves, or an obstacle course. We wrap up, pack our equipment, and move on to the next school.

BE: Why is Apex a good business opportunity for Black entrepreneurs, millennials, and Gen Z?

GARRETT: Apex offers an excellent opportunity for any young person passionate about youth or community development because we are in the business of building leaders. Our team is regarded as celebrities by the schools we serve, influencing impressionable children to recognize that leadership is achievable at any age. They can look up to our Apex team as leaders themselves, emphasizing the impact of leadership from a young age.

BE: What challenges have you faced in starting/building your Apex business, especially during COVID-19?

GARRETT: My most significant challenge occurred during COVID-19 in 2020 when schools and everything else shut down. Being in business for about a year and a half at that point, I had built considerable momentum in the areas I was serving. Having to pause and almost start over due to the pandemic was extremely difficult.

BE: What made you choose the franchise model over starting something independently?

GARRETT: The franchise model appealed to me because much of the groundwork required to start from scratch had been taken care of. Additionally, I received operational support from our home office team, making the learning curve more manageable. Apex aligned seamlessly with my passions for youth and community, providing an established platform for direct involvement with kids and schools in my community.

BE: What advice do you have for up-and-coming entrepreneurs looking into franchising?

GARRETT: Find a franchise that aligns with your life goals and passions. Also, conduct thorough research to ensure the model is profitable. If interested, look for franchise brokers in your local area and schedule meetings to determine the best fit for you. To learn more about how to start your own youth sports franchise with Apex Leadership Company, visit their website at

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