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SIUE Metro East SBDC supports retired military veteran, CrossFit entrepreneur

Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville helped expand community fitness options with the transfer to new ownership of a CrossFit facility.

With the October 1 opening of Iron House CrossFit, Nick Wahle reached a personal goal: To run a successful enterprise while nurturing a sense of community spirit and promoting fitness as a way of life, especially among students.  

SBDC director Jo Ann Di Maggio May met client Nick Wahle, a retired military veteran from Godfrey, Ill, in February 2023. Eight months later, Wahle is a business owner.  

Nick Wahle (Courtesy SIUE SBDC)

“Together, we can achieve great things, one push-up, one squat, and one smile at a time,” said Wahle. A retired Marine, Wahle’s entrepreneurial journey with SBDC included developing a business plan, financing and generating a list of potential lenders. Wahle eventually found an existing CrossFit business to become majority owner and with the SBDC’s support, he successfully secured an SBA loan.  

“The SBDC was extremely helpful as I navigated this journey of business ownership,” says Wahle. 

Wahle credits Di Maggio May with transitioning from a retired military career to starting a business and the most significant hurdle of obtaining the loan. Wahle describes Iron House CrossFit as a hub for community involvement and personal growth. The facility offers premium services for locals and students, with dedicated coaches who provide personalized guidance and instruction to individuals on their fitness journeys.  

“The SBDC is excited to support Nick and Iron House CrossFit as he embarks on this new chapter as business owner,” says Di Maggio May. “We look forward to assisting him and providing resources and support along the way.” 

The Illinois SBDC for the Metro East assists entrepreneurs like Iron House CrossFit as well as existing business owners operating in the nine-county Metro East region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph. SBDC enhances the region’s economic interests by providing one-stop assistance to individuals by means of counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses.

SBDC offices in Illinois are funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement among the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a service to the community. To learn how these no-cost services may help your business venture, contact the Metro East SBDC at (618) 650-2929 or

Iron House CrossFit is Located at 2920 Greenwood Ln, Godfrey, IL 62035 and can be contacted at (760) 590-9923 or via email at

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