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Bull takes sports project by the horns

Chris Bull (right), the new owner of the Hendersonville Racquet Club, welcomes the club’s new head pro, Dylan Jicha. A fresh paint job and new logo are shown behind them. Chris Bull (right), the new owner of the Hendersonville Racquet Club, welcomes the club’s new head pro, Dylan Jicha. A fresh paint job and new logo are shown behind them.

Chris Bull is wasting no time making good on his pledge to upgrade the Hendersonville Racquet Club.

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“We repainted the place and cleaned a lot of things up,” said Bull. “We have a new logo and all that.”
A bigger goal than cosmetics, he says, is a customer service and new programming.
“They’ve been kind of self-service,” he said of the club, which he and his wife, Cindy, bought last  month. “We have a head pro that’s providing a lot of different programs for adults and kids, from beginner to high performers. We’re providing a lot more tennis programing than it’s had in years.”
A varsity soccer player at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., before he broke his leg, Bull is a lifelong athlete. He switched to tennis, and is currently president of the Florida Keys Soccer Club and head coach of the Marathon High School varsity tennis team. He was serving as mayor of Marathon, in the Florida Keys, until he resigned to take on the new business venture. His last day as mayor was Oct. 27. He and his family plan to move to Hendersonville at the end of the current school year when his middle daughter graduates from high school.
The Hendersonville Sports Club was down to about 50 members when Bull bought it. Now it is back up to 200 members. Last week he announced the new head pro, Dylan Jicha, who comes to Hendersonville from Laurel Ridge Country Club in Waynesville.
“I interviewed a number of pros,” Bull said. “He was my first choice and I got him. The kids like him and the senior ladies like him and all points in between. And he’s here for the long haul.”
Bull plans to add, or add back, many features.
“We’ll be opening up the swimming pool that’s been closed the last few years,” Bull said. “We’re going to be opening it up this summer. We’ve lowered the rates for couples and families. We have a poolroom and racquetball courts.”
The club offers family, individual and senior rates, and no extra fee for use of the pool and other amenities.
Bull plans to add summer sports camp in tennis and soccer.
Currently, HSC has six clay tennis courts, four racquetball courts, two indoor tennis courts and an indoor soccer field. Bull is adding pickleball courts and a fitness center. Running the club will be a family endeavor.
“We all either play, coach or officiate or a combination of those in soccer and tennis,” he said. “We’ve run leagues before and we’ve run businesses before. It’s been nothing but positive since we’ve been able to take this over. When I took it over it had one employee four days a week for five hours a day. It’s been essentially a self-service facility for the last couple of years.”