I take the liberty of straying from our usual topics here to herald the accomplishment of my daughter, Chelsea Lauren Garfield and her best friend from birth, Ally Merzer Fleming. Chelsea was at the zenith of her career in IT management, having launched the most successful government website in the nation, and making herself into a “hot” commodity in the world of technology.

Yet Chelsea’s first love was teaching fitness and nutrition to others and creating an environment where people not only worked out, they improved their chances of sticking with it because they made new friends. Wanting to see those friends again overcame the usual obstacles of rationalization and avoidance of effort before, during or after a difficult work day. Making new friends also has carries the benefit of finding new networking opportunities in a declining economy and nearly impossible retail  market. It’s the personality of GFGF, driven by the dynamic energy of Chelsea and Ally that made the place a success.

In a dramatic turnaround and an incredible display of courage, commitment and determination Chelsea and Ally started GOOD FRIENDS GROUP FITNESS IN TALLAHASSEE on January 1, 2010. In just 17 months, despite a sagging economy, the Rick Scott effect laying off government workers, and dozens of other obstacles, GFGF was named this week as Tallahassee’s Emerging Business of the Year. Pursuing a counter-intuitive business model that depends upon members actually coming in to participate in classes instead of the usual numbers game of selling memberships in the hope that they never come in again, GFGF has proved that a mission with a message is possible in a highly competitive environment.

I take this opportunity to congratulate my daughter and my de facto daughter on their guts and their success. Chelsea and Ally have demonstrated that regardless of the odds, if you pursue what you love with a sense of mission, anything is possible.

Chelsea, Ally, I Love You and I’m proud of you.




18 Responses

  1. What a nice post. Congrats to the girls and to you.

  2. That’s awesome, Neil. Congratulations to her, and to you for raising a child who will take the risk of going after her “passion” and then making it a success! We need stories like this, and it’s this spirit that can make America great again. And we need to hear these uplifting stories in the midst of the downers!
    It’ s also fabulous that she is helping to improve others’ lives, health, and sense of empowerment.

  3. Excellant !

  4. Happy early Father’s Day, Neil!

  5. Took guts to post that here, Mr. Garfield. Kudos to you for doing so, and of course kudos to your daughter and her best pal.

  6. Happy Father’s Day a week early, Neil. Much luck to Chelsea and Ally!!

  7. like daughter like father, great pair of american people, honest, and hard working. thanks, neil and daughter for having a great dad

  8. Congrats to all!

  9. Awesome! It is good news and good news is welcome amongs all this turmoil. You should be proud of her accomplishments and so should she. Not that we do not recieve good news these days, seeing the fight for justice is just around the corner. We are recieving good news and see the news coming in our favor daily. WE HAVE A BATTLE TO FIGHT, HOWEVER IT IS NOT ALL UP HILL RIGHT NOW. THE BATTLE GROUND IS CHANGING.

  10. Congrats Girls. Its good to see success in such a tough market.

  11. Dear Chelsea Lauren Garfield and Ally Merzer Fleming

    Congratulations for creating the model of how to succeed in business.

    Pray tell you will not allow a hedge fund manager to get a hold of your business plan! No public IPO! Rather find safe harbor with private financial wealth manager not under the thumbprint of OCC. Is that even possible?

    Congratulations Neil. Wonder who is their ‘bank’ pray tell?

  12. you should be a proud dad!!!! hope she knows what you mean to all of us!
    please think about a tampa seminar thanks

  13. Neil congratulations to you and your daughters.” Hope” in the face of adverse conditions viz. ..the economy… is a wonderful thing. Good luck and happiness.

  14. Congrats proud Papa!!!! 🙂

  15. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

  16. Neil Garfield G-d Bless. Congrats and may you see much more happiness from your family.

  17. Neil, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree . . . she got that ‘moxie’ from you – she learned to go after and put forth wholeheartedly what she truly believed in and it paid off – just like your actions have supported and catapulted many lives into succeeding and surviving the war we’ve been fighting – she is her father’s daughter!! Congrats Chelsea and Ally!

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