I am so excited to write this blog, to let you know about some pretty massive changes that will take place in 2019.
Since 2003, my family and I have created a space of inspiration where tens of thousands of people have changed their lives and the lives of their families.
During the past fifteen and half years Ballarat Body & Soul has also assisted hundreds of university students as they completed their degrees, trainee fitness instructors have commenced their careers with us, and many have gone on to further study or started their own successful businesses. Some of our members even met at the club, married and have since had families of their own. Being part of these transformative journeys is humbling.
Although we officially launched the business in 2003, our journey to open the club actually started in 2001. We had minimal experience, but a clear vision and a solid commitment to help others. We jumped through lots of hurdles but eventually opened our doors opposite McDonalds on Bakery Hill in Ballarat (VIC). We believed in our goal and what we could do, and that proved enough for us to gain the momentum we needed to grow and develop the business, which is exactly what we’ve been doing all the way to 2019.
Back then, our community demanded a space where everybody was equal; a place that was friendly, inviting, inclusive and non-intimidating where all sizes, genders, race, sexual orientation, and daggy trakky pants and t-shirts were entirely welcome!
When we opened our doors, we had no members; but now in December 2018 our united family consists of well over 2000 members, as well as casual visitors, school groups, and populations with special needs who come to see us every week. We are proud to have created a safe place where they feel they belong and are always welcome – a home away from home, in some regards.
We are also proud of our commitment to remain innovative; never being scared to try new stuff first, and always searching for better ways to improve the health and lifestyle of our community members.
It’s not an easy task doing what we do; in fact, it’s a pretty tough and sometimes even lonely at times because, in all honesty, making decisions that don't keep everybody happy sometimes really stinks!
The thing is, life is way bigger than Ballarat, and beyond our borders are so many unique, fun, interesting and life-changing experiences, and I truly want my members and my staff to experience everything the industry has to offer, so they too can impact the lives of more and more people.
Over the last few years, we realised we wanted to change more lives, to make a bigger difference, to create a healthier Ballarat on an even larger scale; and in order to do this we knew that we needed to find a way to be able to offer our members even more than what we were currently offering them. We also realised we had many talented staff who deserve opportunities that are typically only available via larger organisations – as an independent club owner, my limited resources mean I can only do so much, offer so much, and take the club so far. So we found ourselves faced with a decision: do we sell the club, so that new eyes can take over and create something fresh and different? Or do we retain the club and take it to the next level in another way?
We decided that in order to progress our business to a higher level, and to be able to provide our members and our community with even more opportunities, choices and support, as of late March Ballarat Body & Soul will reopen the doors as a Genesis Health & Fitness franchise. We will also be launching Coaching Zone, group personal training in the months that follow.
What does this mean for members?
Essentially it means our wonderful members will continue on their journey towards their goals, but along the way they’ll have access to loads of new and exciting benefits, which come with being part of the Genesis Health and Fitness community and the Coaching Zone family.
Genesis Health & Fitness and the Coaching Zone are businesses that are overseen by Belgravia Group, which is the country’s largest privately owned company in the health and leisure industry. Being a member of Genesis Health and Fitness and the Coaching Zone means you’ll be able to access all the other Genesis Health & Fitness facilities throughout Australia – and this is just one of the many benefits you’ll receive by being part of a nationwide franchise.
What does it mean for staff?
Of course, I’m not going anywhere! I’ll still own and operate the club as I always have, and my amazing team will all remain part of the team, but they’ll be decked out with brand new uniforms and, much like members, they too will gain access to a whole bunch of new and exciting opportunities.
Although the Body & Soul signage will be replaced with Genesis Health & Fitness branding, I assure you that the love, community and vision will continue – stronger than ever! The Belgravia Health & Fitness vision is “Creative healthy active communities” which is a strong alignment to our values.
The success we’ve achieved since 2003 has been predominantly based on our unwavering passion, creating a family culture among members and staff, encouraging a united community, and fostering genuine care for others – and this change of logo will not alter any of that.
I’m proud to admit that after 15.5 years, the original passion and vision that led me to set up Ballarat Body & Soul has never left my heart. I own the club because I genuinely love to teach; and everything else I do in the industry I chose to do because I whole-heartedly believe that everybody deserves opportunity, education and affordable memberships. I give freely because I can, and I pretty much don’t care what others think – which can get me into trouble sometimes, but I’m also okay with that because I believe that much success and growth stems from discomfort.
I appreciate, however, that as human beings, we can sometimes feel resistant to change; but when I discovered a brand that will genuinely care for my members as much as I always have and will continue to do, I knew this was the right way forward for both the business, and for my members.
We’ll be sure to share lots more information as it comes to hand, so please make sure you stay connected with us, to hear more. And of course, you’re always welcome to come and have a chat with me or any of my team – we’d love to share our excitement about the future, with you in-person!