D-BAT West El Paso: Where Everybody Knows your Name

Building a thriving business requires hard work, passion, and grit. But, sometimes, you just need to take the leap. And, with the right systems in place, that decision can have a big impact on your life and your community.

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If you’ve ever seen Cheers!, you know the allure of going somewhere where everybody knows your name.

You walk in and are immediately greeted. Everyone knows your story. The staff knows why you’re here. If you’re a returning member or someone new. They know you beyond just the transaction of booking a lesson or renting a cage.

This experience is something Bill and Andy Powers have built from the ground up.

This father-son team opened the doors to D-BAT West El Paso nearly 4 years ago. Despite opening at what was considered one of the hardest periods in history, especially for sports facilities, Andy and Bill took risks, tried new things, and weren’t afraid to make mistakes. They focused on building intentional relationships with their athletes and their community.

The risks they took and effort they put in paid off in a big way.

Today, D-BAT West El Paso serves over 500 members through various lessons, camps, clinics, cage rentals, and retail offerings. And, they have been celebrated as one of the most successful D-BAT locations. But, this success did not happen overnight.

The Journey to D-BAT

Following a long and very successful career in manufacturing production at companies like Levi Strauss and Stetson, Bill Powers found himself settled in El Paso, Texas. Here, he had planned to retire. His son Andy, however, had a different idea.

After wrapping up his college baseball career at Missouri and New Mexico, Andy began coaching in the college ranks – a direction that was influenced by an injury-riddled career.

“As I started diving into biomechanics and learning about the body and everything, I started learning that what I should have been doing and what I was doing were very different. My motivation at the time, and even to this day, is to make sure that no kid ever has to go through what I went through.”

But, the grind of college coaching ultimately left Andy burnt out and unfulfilled – recognizing that he could get involved in the sport in another way.

So, he and his wife relocated to El Paso, Texas to be near family.

“My goal then was to get into high school coaching and do that for the rest of my life. I got into the high school game and did that for four years, and I got interested in the business side of things. So I decided to start my own business: The Texas Pitching Institute.”

Not only was Andy coaching pitching, but he has also published 6 books. Bill believes that combination plus some background Cade and Kyle Griffis, founders of D-BAT, caught their eye.

They reached out to Andy, which started with a trip to Dallas to implement his pitching program across D-BATs. Andy’s trip to Dallas was extended another day, as Cade and Kyle Griffis shared that the West El Paso location was available, if he was interested in owning a new location.

This trip ended with a phone call to his mom and dad to open a location of their own: “I think we need to do this.”

Family dynamics

Just like assembling an all-star sports team, when you’re looking for your business partners, you’re looking to collaborate with individuals that complement each other’s strengths. Sometimes, that person is closer to you than you think. Following the trip to Dallas, Andy and Bill made their decision to open D-BAT West El Paso.

“Andy explained it and I decided ‘okay, if you and the family will stay here and run it,’ because at that point, I was retired. So, I told him ‘your mom and I will build it and you can run it.’”

So, that’s what happened. Today, the two, as well as their wives, are actively involved at the facility in different ways. Bill’s wife acts as President, and Andy’s wife is the Secretary. Andy is the promoter – the person who is driving people in. He enjoys doing big things and focusing on growing the business. Bill keeps up the books and manages most of the internal operations. Together, they make a great, well-rounded team.

As a family owned location, many business decisions are made over a steak dinner at someone’s house.

Perhaps the biggest decision made over dinner happened on May 31, 2020.

“Let’s open tomorrow morning.”

An atypical grand opening

But, Bill and Andy decided to take a risk, and made the decision less than 12 hours prior to officially open their doors on June 1, 2020.

Bill recalled what those first few months were like:

We didn’t know if we were open day to day, or within that day if we were open hour to hour, if somebody was going to show up or close us down. We did that and struggled [with the uncertainty] like the rest of the world.”

A typical new business marketing strategy is more than likely centered around activity: being active on social media, advertising, spreading the word. But, in the middle of a global pandemic, Andy and Bill had to take a different approach.

“We didn’t advertise that we were open. Andy handled it perfectly in that he’d tell a coach or two or a friend or two and tell them to bring their guys on over, if you want to get a workout in. Then we would spray down the nets and equipment between everyone.”

So, with no advertisement, Andy and Bill had to be very intentional about creating personal experiences that left a lasting impression on their athletes, coaches, and community personnel. An impression that would bring athletes back.

At the end of the day, this strategy paid off in a big way.

By caring for the athletes and making the best out of situations and helping them in a time of uncertainty, they gained the trust and confidence that these athletes would return and find a home in D-BAT.

New D-BAT signage at a local high school dugouts

Building a successful business

"Figure out something that nobody else is doing, and do it better."


Prioritizing the client experience

From the day they opened, there were two themes driving Andy and Bill.

First, they wanted to create a magical, Disney-like experience for their athletes. Yes, the athletes receive technical support as it relates to perfecting their craft. But at D-BAT West El Paso, the emphasis is placed on treating their athletes like all-stars, and making this state of the art facility like a second home.

Second, they wanted to make their athlete’s experience personalized and valued. Because, “wouldn’t you like to go where everybody knows your name?” If you’ve ever watched the show Cheers!, you know that there are hundreds of bars in Boston, but Cheers was the special bar where everyone knew your name. Andy and Bill work tirelessly to make D-BAT West El Paso that place where everyone knows you and your story.

Bill notes that this happens the second they walk through the facility doors. “I will guarantee that nobody walks through our front door that is not welcomed within 15-20 seconds. Our people will know within the first minute what that person is there for – if they are a member, if they are here to rent a cage, if they’re just walking in for the first time…We don’t let anyone come in that isn’t greeted.”

By creating these personalized experiences and building rapport with their athletes, not only do they get to work with great athletes throughout their journeys, but they also get to understand the whole athlete. This leads to a better understanding inside the facility. And, it also leads to a successful business as a whole.

Andy notes that “it’s a lot easier for somebody to walk away from a transactional relationship than a personal relationship. If your relationship is just based on you giving me money, and turning around to go hit in the cages, if there’s any little thing that goes wrong, it’s easy for you to say ‘forget that place.’ But, if you start developing those personal relationships, it affords you some grace.”


Showing appreciation with a personal touch

In addition to building a welcoming and personalized in-facility experience, Andy and Bill have also committed to adding a personal touch outside of the facility. One way they are doing this: handwritten thank you notes. This was an idea Andy came up with and implemented.

“When somebody becomes a new member, we write a personal thank you card for becoming a new member, and we mail that to them. I’m guessing that not many people do that anymore. ”

It’s not just thank you notes that make D-BAT West El Paso different. Bill is proud of the mentality that drives the business forward.

“Our motto is to figure out what nobody else is doing and do it better. The thank you notes is something Andy came up with years ago, and he’s followed through with it. We actually have to have other people help us do it because it’s grown so much.”


Building a staff centered on culture

Andy’s love for both coaching and the business side of sports has evolved and morphed along the way. As an Owner of D-BAT West El Paso, he’s found his role as a marketer – an area that excites him tremendously. And the best part, baseball is the deliverable of those marketing efforts – a win-win.

Concurrently, Andy’s perspective on coaching has also evolved. Andy realized that he could make an impact on the sport in a different way: by investing in coaches.

“It became apparent to me that if I worked with 20 kids, I could make a direct impact on 20 careers. But, if I worked with 20 coaches who all worked with 10 athletes, I could exponentially try to help make a positive impact on more kids. That is where TPI evolved, and to where D-BAT has given me that platform.”

Today, Bill and Andy lead a team of staff members where their number one priority is bringing on the best culture fits. This is a decision that has been set since Andy first started his business in a garage. In fact, a few of those guys he started out with came over to the D-BAT facility when they opened.

“I remember telling them at the very beginning that our goal was to create a Disney experience over here. It was much more about the experience and the culture.”

Bill and Andy are both very protective of the culture they established at D-BAT nearly 4 years ago. In order to protect that culture, they continue to prioritize bringing in new coaches and staff that support their goals and mission. And, Andy has developed a program to help new staff be successful from Day 1.

“We’ve created an onboarding program for our front desk staff. When we hire somebody new, they have to go through our onboarding program before they’re able to start working.”

A mix of former athletes, professional players, coaching connections, and the El Paso community comprise the current D-BAT West El Paso staff. But, regardless of their backgrounds or how they ended up at the facility, they are all held to the same standards.

“From the very beginning, we’re going to promote them to build their book of lessons, but if there’s a night they can’t do a lesson, or a lesson they typically meet with on Thursday has to meet on a Wednesday and they don’t have availability, but another instructor does, another instructor will step in,” says Andy. “We do our best to not cancel lessons, and everybody understands that.”

D-BAT West El Paso Hall of Fame


Leadership from the top down

Establishing a strong culture doesn’t just come from hiring the right people. It comes from the top down. Andy and Bill take pride in their facility, and despite being the owners responsible for high level decisions and behind-the-scenes work, they are always visible to their staff and clients, and eager to roll up their sleeves and step in however is needed.

Andy has taken on a lot of their marketing responsibilities, sending a lot of their emails and shooting a lot of video content. Even if it’s his first time meeting an athlete or parent, many of them feel like they already know him. Bill spends a lot of time in the back of the facility, interacting with parents and athletes, getting to know them, and making sure they have everything they need.

Wednesday nights are the only nights that Bill and Andy work together. They use this night as an opportunity to step in wherever they’re needed as well as spend some time with their clients.

“Andy will take care of the phones and the front desk, and I’m in the back walking up and down the aisles making sure everybody in the cages are okay – making sure they have everything they need. I always wanted to own a restaurant where I did nothing but walk around to the tables and make sure they had what they needed. That’s ended up being my forté.”

This has turned out to have a very positive impact on the relationships inside the facility. As a result of these “walkabouts,” Bill has gotten to connect with so many coaches, players, and parents, some of which have brought something of interest to the table.

In addition, these walkabouts are something that Bill and Andy have built into the facility culture for all of their front desk staff.

“Our front desk staff knows to do it, but every once in a while, I’ll just tell them to go take a walkabout. It’s just them taking a walk up and down checking on people. Most people will tell you ‘no, everything’s good,’ but it’s a simple gesture.”

These seemingly small actions go a long way, and reinforce the culture that they have worked hard to establish and maintain.

The tools in place to help D-BAT West El Paso succeed

The Hub

As a bustling and growing business, it has been important for D-BAT West El Paso to have the right tools in place. One of those tools is the D-BAT Hub – a software that has tremendously improved and grown alongside D-BAT.

Andy recalls that “at the beginning, [The Hub] was a scheduling software that we were trying to fit into D-BAT, and at some point in time, that changed, where the Hub really merged with D-BAT, and the software has just gotten better and better. It’s so easy, I can jump on my phone super quickly if I’m not in the office to be able to deal with something, and the updates that continue to come out shows that there’s real growth.”

A notable improvement to the app has been the ability to make quicker changes and adjustments, and reducing the number of clicks to perform a task. One of those features that immediately comes to mind for Andy: Repeat Booking.

In addition to the features that help the team run the business day-to-day, it also aids in collecting and storing important client information that is specific to some of their facility’s initiatives. One example of this is the client mailing address – which aids when writing and sending out their handwritten thank you notes.

D-BAT Hub Dashboard
Repeat Booking + Calendar view within the Hub

D-BAT Community

In addition to using software, Andy and Bill recognize that they are part of a special community that is D-BAT. Andy encourages other owners to share ideas and collaborate with each other to grow their businesses.

His advice to other D-BATs is simple. Reach out.

“One of the strengths of D-BAT is that we’re able to pick up the phone and reach out to each other,” says Andy. “I don’t have all the answers, but anything I’ve got I will share with you.”

This team player mentality is about making everybody successful, and elevating the D-BAT brand as a whole. Andy points out that just because you are sharing information or insights doesn’t mean you’ll have less success. Instead, it will help you continue to elevate your business.

“Just because they added kids to their camp doesn’t take kids away from my camp. It just means we both got better.”

What's next? Total domination.

At the end of 2022, Bill and Andy laid out a 2023 agenda for their staff.

Their mantra? Total domination.

Andy knew there were a few other Small Market locations that were doing a great job and on the cusp of some great things. That motivated him to narrow his focus and put in the work. He has been reading a book titled “Choose your Enemies Wisely” which dives into how you can use your “enemies” to motivate and push you to greatness.

“‘Enemies” sometimes sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not. It became that drive to get to it first. So, we really put our heads down and tried to do as much as we could.”

And the winner is...

Each year, all of the Owners and GMs from across all D-BAT locations come together to celebrate the past year and look ahead to the next one. At the conference, there’s an award ceremony to celebrate the milestones and achievements of the various locations, and to recognize those locations who have gone above and beyond.

At the 2023 D-BAT Owner’s Meeting, D-BAT West El Paso was nominated for 9 awards. They took home 5 of them.

  • Franchise of the Year: D-BAT West El Paso was celebrated as the top performing franchise of 2023 across all small market locations
  • General Manager of the Year: This marks the second consecutive year that GM Mike Munden was awarded as GM of the Year for his commitment and results in managing the location
  • Steve Adair Award: Bill and Andy Powers were awarded the most personal D-BAT Award from D-BAT Founder Cade Griffis as individuals who best exemplify and represents D-BAT values
  • Top Pro Shop of the Year: Across all small market locations, D-BAT West El Paso was recognized as having the most successful Pro Shop
  • Top Memberships of the Year: D-BAT West El Paso was also named the Top Small Market Memberships of the year for their successful membership sales. In fact, the location surpassed the 500 member mark in 2023.


Beyond these awards, D-BAT West El Paso achieved a milestone that no other small market D-BAT Facility has yet to achieve: $1M in revenue. This is truly a testament to the hard work both in opening the facility four years ago, but also in continuing to foster and build relationships with their community.

A new display case at the facility shows off some of the recent hardware, making it visible to the community and athletes that train at D-BAT.

“I think a lot of people that come here are proud to be here and proud to be a part of it,” says Andy. “They’re happy to be here, and that makes us feel good.”

D-BAT West El Paso award wins from the 2023 Owner's Meeting

While the award wins did create a feeling of validation that their hard work was being recognized, Andy admits that it was fleeting.

“My dad always told me, there’s nothing older than the last at bat. It doesn’t matter if you just hit a go-ahead 3 run homer in your last at bat. That’s done with, and right now, you’ve got to be focused on this at bat.”

So, Bill and Andy are looking at this year as a blank slate. Now is not the time to become complacent.

The guiding focus for 2024 is ‘can we do it again?’

Andy knows that their recent success has put a target on their back. But, this excites him, as it sets a precedent that what they’ve achieved at D-BAT West El Paso is attainable for other D-BAT locations.

At the end of the day, taking risks and not being afraid to make mistakes has paid off in a big way. And, even as the number of members, lessons booked, or cages rented grows, D-BAT West El Paso will continue to be that place where everybody knows your name.

Home of the Texas Pitching Institute

500+ members

First Small Market D-BAT to reach the Million Dollar Club

D-BAT West El Paso is a state-of-the-art baseball and softball training facility that specializes in various aspects of learning the game.

In any given week, D-BAT West El Paso hosts athletes ages 8-18 for private lessons, camps, clinics, and cage rentals. Owners Bill and Andy Powers have built this family business into one of the most successful D-BAT franchise locations – a testament to their hard work, risk-taking, and passion for growing the sport and creating opportunity for the community.

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