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the common room

DAVID von STORCH entrepreneur

’76

Ventures in the Capital PHOTO BY GREG POWERS PHOTOGRAPHY

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Spring 2012

David von Storch ’76 has built an empire in Washington, DC. Since starting his first business over 20 years ago, he has expanded his lifestyle company, opened popular gyms, restaurants, and salons around the DC area, and started his own reality TV show. In a recent interview with Metro Weekly, Mr. von Storch discussed his road to business ownership, future plans, and decades-long struggle with HIV. Although Mr. von Storch is now a successful entrepreneur, he recalled his fear before he set out on his own: “I thought through the consequent possible outcomes of being in business on my own, got my hands around what it would be like to be a complete failure at what I tried to do. I thought I would be okay if it were a complete failure [and] that allowed me, freed me up to be successful.” Prior to founding Urban Adventures Companies in 1986, Mr. von Storch received an MBA from Harvard Business School and worked in the corporate world. Business ownership, he found, was liberating. “It wasn’t really the success of the business that defined whether I’d made the right decision,” he said. “It was so liberating for me to be who I was. Before I knew I was successful, I knew I had done the right thing. There was no regret, from the moment I left.” Urban Adventures Companies encompasses VIDA Fitness, Bang Salon, and the Capital City Brewing Company. After his initial success with

Capital City Brewing, Mr. von Storch was able to invest in interests that he was truly passionate about—fitness and health. The popularity of VIDA Fitness and Bang Salon allowed him to identify his target consumers—how they think and the interests they pursue—and develop a relationship with them that has led to further expansion. Now Mr. von Storch plans to open a 50,000-square -foot flagship location containing branches of all his businesses, as well as a gay community center. “The world that I live in is profit-based,” Mr. von Storch explained. “It’s young gays and young lesbians being entrepreneurs, creating things, doing things that they’re passionate about, in the community where they live.” Mr. von Storch plans to lease “incubator offices” to gay and gay-friendly businesses, to give them the support they need to succeed. Mr. von Storch’s latest venture is a reality show, Complicated Order, designed to gain exposure for his company and offer himself as a role model to people who face challenges. Despite being HIV positive for several decades, Mr. von Storch maintains an active life and is open and approachable about his situation. People feel they can relate to him, he noted, for the “genuineness of the discussion about my journey.” And it is a journey that will continue to be inspirational to others as he pursues what he loves. ••

Spring 2012 Deerfield Magazine  

The alumni journal of Deerfield Academy

Spring 2012 Deerfield Magazine  

The alumni journal of Deerfield Academy