I am writing this article to attest to what hard work can bring you. Not only have the people in this article become a great success by their own hands, they have also returned to South Africa after having built a successful business in the UK. Below is the story of Charles and Joanne.
(Joanne) – Charles and I were born in Johannesburg and moved to the UK in 1999. We arrived in the UK with £600 to our name. Our new home came with many challenges and there were plenty of times that we thought what have we done! In 2002 Tyron (our son) was born and our lives changed. We travelled a lot and in 2005 we bought our first home. In the same year we started our own Arboricultural Machinery business. For the next 14 years we worked very hard and the business became very successful. In 2015 after an absence of 9 years we returned to South Africa for a holiday. We had to attend a birthday party in PE.
Charles had visited PE many times as a youngster but it was the first time for Tyron and myself. During our holiday we visited Plettenberg Bay and fell in love. We decided we were going to look for a holiday house in Plett. Went back to the UK, started planning and returned 2 months later to view a series of houses. On our last day, we saw a house listed on the internet in George. None of us had ever been to George so we didn’t know what to expect. We instantly fell in love with the area and the house. We went back to the UK and put an offer on the house.
Over the next 5 year we were back and forth between the UK and our house in George. It became harder and harder to leave and so we made the decision to move back permanently. In the meantime, Tyron had grown a passion for bodybuilding. Tyron was born at 26 weeks and only weighed 960 grams. Growing up Tyron was the smaller boy but his determination made up for it. At the age of 16 Tyron started showing an interest in bodybuilding. We bought a few bits of gym equipment for a home gym. It became apparent that bodybuilding wasn’t just a phase! After training at home for about a year he decided to join a local community gym with Charles. After completing his last year of school, Tyron enrolled in the London Academy of Fitness Professionals.
He first completed a diploma in Fitness instruction and then went on to graduate as a level 3 Personal Trainer. During this period Charles and I were trying to decide how we would generate income when we moved to George full time. We thought of a few different options, Charles would come over, do the homework, come back crunch the numbers and ultimately nothing seemed to tick the boxes. In 2018 a new chain of gyms opened on our doorstep. A 24 hour gym, unsupervised during unstaffed hours. Charles and Tyron joined straight away. It quickly became apparent how a 24 hour gym could be appealing and certainly a viable business opportunity.
We started researching gym equipment and contacting suppliers, testing the various equipment until we found what we thought was the best. By September of 2019 Charles moved to George while I stayed behind to wrap up our life in the UK. There were many sad goodbyes to many of the friends that we had made. Back in SA, Charles was delighted to find the available unit at Paddagat. It was central, had a vast amount of parking, and members could pop in to do their shopping before or after training.
So the building work began, three showers, an office and reception area were built. There was great joy when the rubber flooring arrived, we all sat with our hammers fitting them together. In February 2020 the long awaited gym equipment arrived from Johannesburg and was installed in a couple of days. We now had our equipment, and 2 full time staff members. Tyron with his Level 3 Personal Trainer quantification, Miche who has a degree in Sports Management. Jaco also joined our team later on and is currently busy with Personal Training, Nutrition and Sports Psychology. One of the delivery guys who transported the gym equipment asked if we were looking for a cleaning lady, he introduced us to Cynthia, his wife, and we love her! The cleanliness of the gym is her passion and mission!
On the 12/2/2020 we opened and we were overwhelmed with the response. And then lockdown happened. We seriously questioned our business choice. We decided that we would not debit or charge any of our members for the full 5 months that we were locked down. It was a very frustrating and taxing time but we were not alone. We joined FITSA and stayed in regular contact with other gym owners, we were all in the same boat.
We were allowed to open again on the 18th of August 2020. We lost a small percentage of our pre lock down customers due to job losses etc… but had many more joining. We have gone from strength to strength and are looking forward to the future. Unfortunately we are restricted by the current curfew so our members are not getting the full 24 hour service. But onwards and upwards! In January 2021 we took a second unit upstairs to install a Virtual studio.
We are so blessed to have opened a business in such a beautiful place. All of our members have done us proud. So many people thought we were crazy to open a 24 hour unsupervised gym in South Africa. We are looking forward to this year and all the opportunities it holds. We as the owners are involved daily with the gym and enjoy building relationships with the members. – (end)
I have personally spent some time with Charles and Joanne and they are great people ready to personally deliver on their service offering at Just Fitness. Below is some of the offer in you will find at the Just Fitness Gym
– A health suite offering eleven different forms of massage therapy.
– Strength equipment, cardio machines and functional floor equipment.
– Virtual Studio
– 24 hour security at the center
– Biometric entrance, no more losing your gym card
– Direct Whatsapp and Telegramme communication (no head office headaches)
– Owner managed
– Range of good quality fitness clothing
– Fitness events
– Weight loss competition
– Range of pre prep frozen foods (bodybuilding and weight loss)
Just Fitness 24 hour gym located upstairs at Paddagat Shopping Centre, Knysna Road, George
Just Fitness email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone or whatsapp : 0787737593
Charles, Joanne and Tyron