Entrepreneur Success Stories with TJ Clynch of Civic Mind

Jun 13, 2012

TJ Clynch is a great representation of what HYPE is trying to accomplish in Hartford. He is a young and highly motivated individual, who after hardship and adversity has already seen great entrepreneurial success. TJ is different from most business owners in that his focus isn’t concentrated on the bottom line. He is more concerned with fostering a supportive community downtown. He believes it is his civic responsibility to help bolster this community and create an environment that will help like-minded entrepreneurs succeed as well. As the owner of Downtown Yoga he didn’t consider it a threat when another studio moved in a block away, he embraced it as part of his goal to transform the downtown area back into a vibrant destination with attractions and nightlife.

Coming from a family that was very involved in their community, TJ set out with a similar mission for his life. He paid for college by working in the back of an ambulance, helping the sick and injured. It was his father, a burly fire fighter, who conveyed to him the importance of treating everybody the same no matter their wealth or social status. If they were in that ambulance, they were to be treated with only the best of care. TJ seemed to take lessons like these to heart, later naming his company “Civic Mind” with a goal to “fuel relationships between neighbors and strengthen communities as a whole.”

Prior to starting Civic Mind and Downtown Yoga, TJ had a different outlook on where life was taking him. He had a goal to design and build a sports coliseum, even going as far as to work with an architect and design a business plan for the project. When he presented the business plan to possible investor, USA Hauling & Recycling, they were impressed and instead offered him a job in sales. TJ spent a year learning from this job before leaving for a job bartending at Barcelona. It was in this position he learned how to hold conversations with anyone, banked $25,000, and met his future yoga studio manager.

Things were going pretty good, TJ had some savings set aside and was in a job he liked. Then one day it all fell apart. As he was walking in West Hartford, a nearby driver had a heart attack and struck TJ with his car. The accident put him in the emergency room with a bad back injury. TJ was unable to continue work and forced to pay his own medical bills as the driver was found not liable. Jobless and in too much pain to work in an ambulance, he tried doing yoga for physical therapy. TJ was hooked and knew that this was something he wanted to be a part of.

He left West Hartford and instead came downtown with the intention to make a yoga studio that was ‘more accessible, approachable, and affordable.” He knew his true goal however, was to create projects for the benefit of the community and helping to match people together. He keeps striving towards this goal with every project he takes on. Using a grant from the Hartford Innovation Challenge, he created “Cycled Energy,” a cycling studio that captures energy and delivers it back to the grid. He is also working on multiple projects through “Earth Xchange,” including a green technology and sustainability event at this year’s Gathering of the Vibes Music Festival featuring presidential candidate, Roseanne Barr!

TJ is no doubt happy with where life is taking him. His enthusiasm is reflected in his work and when one HYPE member asked what the best thing about being an entrepreneur is; TJ responded that “they say you make your own hours. You really end up working every hour of the day, but it doesn’t feel like work.” He also offered a simple piece of advice to those concerned with taking the plunge to become an entrepreneur - “Just do it.”

TJ’s story is no doubt an inspiring one and we would like to thank him for being our Entrepreneur Success Story. To find out more about TJ and Civic Mind please check out the website.


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