Facility Spotlight: La Habra Tennis Center
Just when it needed a real shot in the arm, Simon Paek and iTennis came to the rescue and since June 1 has been revamping and reorganizing all the tennis programming at the La Habra Tennis Center in north Orange County.
Paek said the City of La Habra was originally only looking to sign a one or two-year deal with iTennis, and that iTennis took a huge “leap of faith” to invest in the facility with the goal of being there long-term.
“We weren’t just going to come in and open the doors and run it as is,” Paek said. “We’ve been around too long for that. We needed to make a financial commitment into the property if we wanted to have a shot of doing anything great there.”
He added: “So we’ve put some money into the facility and I think the City is very happy, and I think we are on-track to do bigger and better things for more years to come.”
The La Habra Tennis Center is a 12 lighted court public tennis facility located at 311 S. Euclid St. in La Habra.
A former U.S. National Coach for the USTA, Paek served on the Executive Committee of the USPTA, and is a past President of the USPTA’s California Division.
Paek grew up in Orange County and formerly worked at SeaCliff Country Club in Huntington Beach where he managed the day-to-day operations of the 16-court private facility overseeing 15 employees as well as 8 USPTA and USPTR staff professionals. But Paek said he burned out on running the club, and stepped away from tennis, until volunteering to help coach his daughter’s high school team.
Shortly after, Paek joined John Letts and the iTennis staff and began running the Arcadia Tennis Center. Paek said iTennis’ strength is in its programs, including a high performance junior clinic that meets on Monday, Wednesday Friday.
“We base everything on our programs and we’re strong in our programming,” Paek said. “On top of the programs, we thought it was important to build a tennis environment and have a true tennis center. Our clubhouse is mostly a pro shop. We’ve partnered with Tennis Warehouse and are the largest Tennis Warehouse pro shop in Southern California with more than 700 square feet of rackets and clothes and shoes. We’re offering everything and we felt it was important to do that.”
Being there for the community is central to the goals Paek and his staff have set forth.
“We have no aspirations to re-invent the wheel,” Paek said. “We’re in a service industry and I think sometimes we forget that. We base everything we do on community outreach. We go back to what we know best and that’s grassroots. In order for us to survive and thrive, we have to bring new people into the game.
“In La Habra we’re back to grassroots in the truest sense of the word. This is truly a grassroots effort and we’re focused on that.”
The La Habra Tennis Center is participating in an important local initiative called, “Move More, Eat Healthy”
“It’s all about getting kids out there and moving,” Paek said. “Since June we’ve been involved in six community events and are participating in another one this weekend.”