Fitness business harmed by pandemic
THEY say when one door closes, another one opens and while closing a business is never an easy decision, one business owner believes the future looks bright regardless.
James Hargreaves first started Got Active Fitness when he noticed there was a demand for health and fitness services in the area.
But now, the Burnett Heads business has sadly closed, but will still be operating from their premises in Gin Gin.
“(It) started as a boot camp style business and then we opened a gym in 2015 in Gin Gin due to high demand,” Mr Hargreaves said.
“Being a small town, there had never been a full commercial gym before, so it was a bit of a risk to open the very first one, but with the support of the community it was a success.”
Mr Hargreaves said support from the community was so positive and right from the start, so when he met Burnett Heads local Jude Armstrong last year, the pair decided to join forces and open another up another gym.
“Jude had a passion for helping people and she was very keen to bring a gym to town, so we decided to team up and open a Got Active Fitness in Burnett Heads,” Mr Hargreaves said.
“We had such a great small community come together pretty quickly and a core group the showed us a lot of support from the start.”
Referring to their pairing as a perfect match, Mr Hargreaves said he had big plans for the new site.
Passionate about helping others, he hoped to create a safe and convenient option for people to keep fit, exercise and achieve goals.
But when COVID-19 unexpectedly forced businesses around the region to temporarily close, the situation left many with a heartbreaking decision.
“Membership sales had been a little slow and Burnett Heads is a small coastal community, so perhaps we over-estimated the desire for a local gym, but I believe we hadn’t yet reached our full potential before the COVID-19 situation forced us to close, which was a huge blow,” Mr Hargreaves said.
“Combining low membership rates, forced closure and high running costs associated with owning a gym, we decided the best thing to do was close down … it was a terribly hard decision that neither of us wanted to make, but we also had to be realistic.”
While the decision still weighs heavily on his shoulders, Mr Hargreaves has chosen to remain positive and thanks the community for their ongoing support.
“Burnett Heads is a wonderful community with a lot of charm and it’s great place to live … maybe as it grows, so to will the demand for a local gym,” he said.
“It’s a tough time for business as well as individually. A lot of people have been affected and ultimately, we couldn’t really continue to operate in the current climate.”
The business will continue to operate from the gym based in Gin Gin.
“It’s a strong and supportive community with a great membership base of passionate people and we’ve seen some huge transformations throughout our five years … we can’t wait to see what the next five bring,” Mr Hargreaves said.
“We’ve had interest from a few people in surrounding small towns who have expressed their desire to do the same as we have, by bringing exercise and a city-type gym experience to regional communities and we’re more than happy to help anyone open their own Got Active Fitness.
“I feel we’ve learnt a thing or two about the gym business and helping more people is always exciting and special to be a part of.”
For more information, visit gotactive.com.