In The Zone Friends….
I hope your seasons are off to a great start and the hard work that you have all put in over the winter is showing on the field. Best of luck to everyone as the Spring and Summer progresses.
As many of you may know, in mid-March of this year the Town of Somerset (at a Zoning Board meeting and subsequent special town meeting), approved the rezoning of the building to Industrial, in order to allow it to be used for Medical and Recreational Marijuana growing, processing and distribution. This came as a complete surprise to us, actually finding out about it through the local newspapers. To date I have not been contacted by the landlord, and the Lease Agreement for ITZ ends 5/30/18. Judging from the lack of communication and activities around the building, as well as information from some who have spoken to the new business, this transition will in fact take place. We are certainly disappointed in this turn of events, as I have a significant investment into the space and Ryan and I have worked hard to develop the presence and following we have in the Somerset and surrounding communities. However, I understand and respect that this is a business decision on the part of both the owner of the property and the Town of Somerset, that I have no control over. Therefore, we will be vacating the space effective June 1, 2018.
When I opened the original ITZ in Fall River in 2009, I did so with the intent of providing a training environment and level of professional instruction that did not exist in the area, and in my opinion still does not. Over the years we have developed a strong following of baseball and softball organizations and families that could see that we approached this differently, that the training environment for these children mattered and the staff was here for the families that understood the importance of that in the development of their children. The concept of “getting better every day” was evident in all that we did, including renovating this facility in 2014 to be by far the best around. Over 9 years I have endured the challenges of a very tough business model because of the inherent seasonality. It took many of those years to identify competent, responsible and honest people to help to provide what ITZ was established for. It hasn’t been until the last year with Ryan and Kaiden here, and with an incredibly dedicated and talented staff of teachers like Jake, Kathy, Nick and Yoshi that I feel this was accomplished. I can’t say enough how fortunate I am to have had those kinds of people helping me to develop our reputation. I am forever grateful.
Today, I do not know what the future of ITZ holds. Identifying a community that supports us and a building that can provide the environment I feel is important, is not easy to find. The expense of relocating a facility like this is significant. I would never go backwards. I love what I do, I love working with kids and with people like I do right now. The reward I feel from watching kids develop is fulfilling and genuine. I can put my head down each night knowing why I did this, confident that I ran an honest and fair business and proud that I remained on the high road despite the ruthless attempts to derail that by my competition. We did good things for kids and families. It’s unfortunate that the communities we service may be without what we have provided.
I will maintain this page and our website to keep you all informed of what may be transpiring for ITZ. The timing helps in that it is the offseason for indoor facilities, and I have several months to develop a transition plan or move on. Other than the need to locate a new facility, this does not affect any of the great organizations that used our facility for team development, including our own Gulls Baseball developmental program. They will all continue to do great things for your children. We will continue to be open for our Spring hours through May 28th, at which time the cage system will be dismantled. I urge Members and Students to utilize the facility and finish up packages of lessons. Items for sale at ITZ will be moved at prices that should definitely be taken advantage of, first come first served…including BWP Pro Certified wood bats, Franklin batting gloves, and New Balance metal and molded cleats and turf shoes.
In closing, for now…it has been my sincere honor and privilege to be in a position to provide the opportunities we have, and to have a positive impact on our youth in this great game. Ryan and I are as passionate about this game as anyone I know, and if it is in the cards to do it again, I assure you that it will be even better. Thank you all for your commitment and support through the years, and I hope you all continue to “get better every day”!
Yours in baseball,
Ron and Ryan Westmoreland