Job Posting: Vancouver Sword Academy Seeks Partner to Develop Gift Shop, Discovery Centre, or Café

Academie Duello is one of Vancouver’s largest martial arts schools, and the largest centre dedicated to the study of European swordplay. For this job, we are looking for someone with vision, drive, and know-how. You must also be willing to work for a share of the profits to take the Academie Duello entrance area from its current configuration as a fledgling pro-and-gift-shop and turn it into something sensational. This is an opportunity to develop a business with an experienced partner, and a low risk one at that!

At our 5,000 square foot downtown Vancouver location, Academie Duello teaches ongoing martial arts and stage combat classes for kids and adults. Additionally, we host intensive destination courses with international draw, and we run Vancouver’s number-one kids’ summer camp, as voted in the Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver. We have an international reputation for our quality of instruction, and the excellent students our school produces. Our next goal is to maximize the space at the front of the business, which is currently set up to sell training equipment to members and knick-knacks to walk-ins.

This is where you come in. We aren't sure what to do! We’ve talked about really fleshing out the gift shop idea, bringing in toys and arts and crafts that tie into the image of a fully developed International Centre for Swordplay. We’ve also thought of changing our pro-shop into a hands-on sword discovery centre, or into a fully functioning café  – somewhere parents and students can hang out and get work done while waiting for classes to start and finish.

Do any of the ideas above pique your interest? Or do you have an even more awesome suggestion? Furthermore, do you have the drive and experience required to take a proposal from an initial concept all the way through to its design and implementation? Send an email to We’d love to meet you.

You will:

  • Work with Academie Duello's director to build a business plan.
  • Work with the Admin Department to set & work within a budget.
  • Arrange and organize meetings & training sessions with new and existing staff.
  • Be willing to develop and grow relationships with new & existing suppliers.
  • Redesign the floor plan & layout of the front-of-school area to maximize efficiency.

You have:

  • Business management experience.
  • Drive, and are self-motivated, with a desire to work in a startup environment.
  • Assertive decision-making capabilities and the ability to confidently ask for what you need.
  • A great balance of empathetic caregiver and ruthless prioritizer.
  • Solid working knowledge of the Google Apps For Work environment (Gmail, Docs, Calendar).
  • The ability to learn new technology fast, and are comfortable with a change-driven business.
  • Great attention to detail, with the ability to multitask.
  • A pragmatic attitude toward repairs. Can change a light bulb, pull out a ladder, replace a door handle, etc. You're comfortable and capable of rolling up your sleeves to take care of minor repairs and improvements, but you also know when it’s time to call a contractor.
  • A knack for finding a great deal, and you're not afraid to negotiate.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with a proven ability to adjust style and tone for a wide range of audiences.
  • An enthusiastic yet highly professional attitude.
  • Significant customer service experience in handling situations both with speed and accuracy.
  • Resourcefulness, creativity, and the ability meet deadlines with minimal supervision.
  • A proven, professional, and mature approach to handling highly sensitive and proprietary information.
Roland Cooper is a lead instructor in Academie Duello's Adult Swordplay programs, and the head instructor of the Youth Swordplay program. He is also the head of the Frontage Department, which includes both the store and the front desk.
Read more from Roland Cooper.