With their vision to open a gym in their local area, Doonside in Sydney’s greater western region, Michael and Tamara Georgy and Jay and Shirein Hickman, are the new owners of Snap Fitness Doonside – the area’s first ever gym.
The first-time franchisees have mixed careers and backgrounds from education and fitness to law and construction, but they all have one thing in common – passion for their community and helping their own neighbours achieve their health and fitness goals.
We chatted to Michael, one of the Snap Fitness Doonside Franchisees about the experiences opening a gym in their hometown and the hurdles they faced opening a gym during the COVID pandemic.
Opening a gym in your hometown
Opening a gym in an area you’re familiar with has a range of benefits including knowledge of the customer base, understanding the cultures and gaps in the community, and connecting with the members on a personal level. Michael said it was a no-brainer to open their first Snap Fitness gym in their hometown of Doonside.
“The passion we all share for the community comes from our close ties to the area. We all grew up here, went to school around the corner and can relate to the local community members,” he said.
“As Doonside locals, we identified a gap in the market and a need for a community location where people could gather together to socialise and exercise, and also be a place for the youth in the region to come and spend their time.
“Our goal is to offer our community more than just a gym.”
Impacts of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many industries across the world, including the health and fitness industry. With restrictions and lockdowns impacting visits to gyms and participation in classes, Snap Fitness members unfortunately felt the brunt of this impact with the gym closures.
As Snap Fitness Doonside prepared to open its doors in April, the COVID pandemic heightened, and new lockdowns were introduced across Sydney and New South Wales, and Michael and the team had to rethink their opening strategy.
“We were ready to open our doors to Snap Fitness Doonside in April, but the COVID pandemic had other plans. We postponed our opening until June, however, due to the ongoing lockdowns, we had to postpone once again,” he said.
“We felt disappointed for our members, some of which have been members since our original opening date in April, but they supported us during this difficult period. With the recent lockdowns eased, we finally opened our doors on 11 October – 110 days after our original opening date.
“We’re extremely grateful to our members and appreciate their patience, understanding and support during COVID. It does not go unnoticed.”
Building a community
With Snap Fitness Doonside being the first gym in the area, Michael and the team set out to build a community at Snap, not just a gym.
“Snap Fitness Doonside is not only the first gym in the heart of Doonside, but we are a 24-hour gym with a premium facility and a premium offering. Our members are number one – we treat each member as if they were our only member,” Michael said.
“Our facility isn’t just a gym for our members. When they enter Snap Fitness Doonside, they’re walking into a community. It is a place where you can work out at your own pace and socialise with the local Doonside community and surrounding areas.”
The Snap Fitness Doonside community isn’t just about the members. It’s about giving back to the other businesses in the local community.
“We already sponsor local soccer, cricket and football teams and have built a partnership with the five local Subway locations that surround the gym, giving discounts to our members,” Michael said.
“We have a vision of local businesses supporting other local business with Snap Fitness Doonside leading the way. We want to build our partnerships to benefit the members, and this could be things like inviting a local business per week into the gym to set up a stand to promote their business, offering samples and discounts to our members.
“One day we hope to see Snap Fitness posters in every business around Doonside.
“Our journey has only just started and we’re most excited about building our Snap Fitness Doonside community, helping our members to make new friends, and ultimately helping them achieve their health and fitness goals.”
If you think your area is in need of a Snap Fitness community and want to find out about becoming an industry leader and franchise owner, visit: https://www.snapfitnessfranchise.com.au/