A successful ‘no frills’ fitness business is opening its second facility in County Durham after securing a follow-on investment from the Finance For Business North East Fund.
Paul and David Pearson opened OneGym in Bishop Auckland in 2012, offering users access to all the latest fitness equipment without costly add-ons like swimming pools and saunas that they don’t necessarily want to use.
And having attracted over 1,300 members to their first fitness facility, the brothers have now opened a second, much larger OneGym on Newton Aycliffe Business Park.
Eight new jobs have been created at the new 12,500 sq ft fitness centre, which has facilities for fitness classes as well as a gym in which more than £150,000 has been invested in installing the latest Cybex exercise equipment.
The original launch of OneGym was funded through an investment from regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers via the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund that it administers, as well as by further capital from NatWest and the firm’s management team.
Both NEL and NatWest have again signed up as backers for the new Newton Aycliffe OneGym, which new members can either join via the www.onegymfitness.com or at a purpose-built booth on the premises.
The low cost gym business model was originally established in the US and mainland Europe, with membership costs kept significantly below those charged by leisure facilities in hotels or ‘lifestyle’ gyms.
Having proved that the concept works in the North East, the OneGym management team remains ambitious about extending their brand presence to further parts of the region in the next few years.
Managing director Paul Pearson, who has a longstanding background in the regional health and fitness industry, says: “We were always very confident that OneGym would be a hit in the North East, and comfortably surpassing our membership targets for Bishop Auckland has shown our expectations were well founded.
“We can keep membership costs down by cutting out all the added frills that gym users don’t necessarily want, but end up paying for anyway elsewhere, while still offering the top quality equipment and changing facilities that people expect and tailoring the way we operate precisely to meet users’ needs.
“We’ve wanted to open in Newton Aycliffe for a long time and think the demand will be just as strong as we’ve had previously, especially from all the businesses that are right on our doorstep.
“We’ve also got our eyes on a number of other North East locations in which we think demand for this concept will be equally strong, and we’ll be looking to move in those areas when the right opportunities come up.
“NEL have been easy to work with over the last couple of years, and they said from the start they’d be keen to talk about the next stage of the business’s development. Securing the second investment was very straightforward, and we’re pleased to be maintaining their confidence in our commercial potential.”
Jonathan Luke, senior portfolio executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “OneGym has proved successful in an environment where attracting consumers’ disposable income has been a real challenge for anyone in the leisure industry, and the management team has the ambition and energy to make so much more of the brand.”
Paul Marshall, relationship manager at NatWest, says: “The OneGym concept has proved very successful over the past two years, and the Newton Aycliffe facility gives the company a fantastic platform to widen their membership base even further.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2007-13 over a five year period.
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five year lifespan of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious North East companies with robust business plans.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0845 111 1850.
The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support. It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.