Barrett’s business has races covered from start to finish

The Memphis Daily News/The Memphis News

Nov. 30, 2013

For Brent Barrett of Start2Finish Events, small-business ownership is a marathon, not a sprint.

The racing events management and production service, begun in 2004, has grown out of Barrett’s custom-printed apparel business, Bluff City Sports, and, the events calendar and registration portal of the footrace world.

The Start2Finish staff includes, from left, Daniel Shaffer, James Adrian, Matt West, Brent Barrett, Wyndell Robertson, Ryne Lamm and Adam Shelton. 

(Photo: Andrew J. Breig)

“We’ve kind of created this one-stop shop for events to come in here and we’re able to build their website, do their online registration, help them market, help promote, print their T-shirts, do their awards,” Barrett said.

Having worked with screen print during college and after, Barrett moved back to Memphis and opened his own apparel shop in 1991. He’d begun participating in triathlons as a hobby several years earlier and found it was difficult to find information on upcoming events.

A niche made itself apparent, and in the nascent World Wide Web of 1994, RacesOnline became the fill for that niche as a simple cyber calendar of events.

They made cards with a logo and website address, and put them into every race shirt they printed. “So we were putting those in probably 300,000 or 400,000 shirts a year and they were going all throughout the Mid-South,” Barrett said.

It was not meant to be a revenue generator in the beginning, but a “sales tool,” Barrett said, opening a door for Bluff City Sports to contact the race directors and bid on their shirt production.

This pulled them ahead of the competition, and Barrett added a partner and functionality to the site to allow for online registration. The site has about 12,000 active events listed at any given time and is free for race directors with revenue now coming from a service fee when a participant registers for a race.

“It is self-supporting, actually a very good, solid business,” he said. “We do probably close to 300,000 transactions a year with that now.”

The most recent part of the puzzle within the building at Cooper Street and York Avenue – the starting line for the Cooper-Young 4-miler every year – is Start2Finish . . . (read more)