Ciao, Paolo

This weekend we’ll be celebrating the life of our friend Paolo Minissi, who passed away last week.  Paolo was the owner of Castle Hill Fitness in Austin, a truly spectacular gym with incredible people and services.  I regularly refer my patients to Castle Hill for aftercare personal training, pilates, yoga, bicycle fitting, and massage.  At the very least, I say, go by their cafe and treat yourself to a kooky smoothie concoction or some coconut pudding.  The place, for a fitness and health geek like myself, is a dreamland, with the best of the best of everything, from the equipment, to the classes, to especially the people who work there.  Paolo had a vision for Castle Hill and he didn’t rest until that vision was complete and the gym and cafe were the cream of the crop of Austin.

I’m compelled to write about Paolo because of what he has done for me and how he contributed to what my practice philosophy is today.  Through circumstances, I joined physical therapists Mark Hernandez and Mark Lang in the Physical Therapy department at Castle Hill.  Paolo brought me in and allowed me to build a fee-for-service practice there, surrounded by some of the most skilled people I had ever met.  He encouraged me to truly believe in what I do, to market myself as someone who has something to offer that no one else in Austin has.  Through what he was doing to Castle Hill he demonstrated to me that a vision for a business of the highest quality would, through thick and thin, always succeed.  And not to sound too cliche, but Paolo instilled in me that success in business doesn’t come easy, but when you treat the people around you really well, especially your customers, and you are true to yourself and what you believe in, things will work out and you will do just fine.

I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve said that the thing that exemplifies Paolo and Castle Hill the best is that it is truly staggering how many employees he retained over the years.  Most of the people that were there when I was (around 2003-2004) are still there.  He created a great working environment for people which has only gotten better over the years.  He treated people very fairly and he fostered their careers-mine included.  I may not work there now, but I’m still a gym member and frequent consumer of their coconut pudding.  I love the place and will continue referring people there for as long as there is a Castle Hill.

Thank you, Paolo, for making Castle Hill Fitness what it is today.  For giving me (and many others) an opportunity to start a career in the wacky but incredibly fulfilling world of fee-for-service.  Thank you for the ideas and just a smidge of your keen business acumen.  And thank you for your freindship and encouragement.  You will be missed.