Rise Athletics named Business Builder

Left, Rise Athletics and Wellness owner Kurtis Fox and fitness coaches Steven Wieler and Carie Kehler. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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Dedication to the “un-gym experience” has led to growth for a Winkler fitness facility.
Rise Athletics and Wellness will be receiving the Business Builder Award at the P.W. Enns Business Awards Gala on April 4.
Owner Kurtis Fox said dedication to fitness and the willingness to adapt to what customers need, has resulted in growth.
They opened in 2012 and are now in their third location.
“When I look at my initial business plan and where we are today, it’s nothing like that,” he said. “It’s been interesting to just listen to the market and see what the customers are looking for and then adapt to that.”
Rise Athletics and Fitness has a team of eight employees right now, and Fox said they expect to grow by the end of this year.
“We’ve had steady growth year over year,” he said.
The business started off with personal one-on-one training.
“That started to evolve to some group training where we kind of realized if we’re going to do this we need the place to do it,” he said.
That led to their second and third locations.
Rise Athletics includes programs to work with kids, sports performance for athletes, general program for adults, strength building, and fat loss for seniors.
“That kind of allowed us to dive into all those different demographics and that’s what helped grow that client base,” Fox said.
Having trainers who can work with those different types of people is key to help meet their clients goals.
“A kid that wants to come in and get better at hockey has a different outlook on fitness than somebody in their 60s coming in and who wants to have a better quality of life,” Fox said.
That’s where the “un-gym experience” comes into play.
“Everybody’s going in and working with our coaches in some fashion, whether it is one on one or through one of our programs,” he said. “I started out that way to try to remove any of the stereotypes and hesitations that comes with joining a gym.”
That vision to work with people rather than just operate a gym that lets people do their own fitness, was with him right from the start.
“I love working with people and introducing them to fitness and all the physical and mental benefits that come with it,” he said. “As we’ve grown and we’ve added these services and more clients, we’ve been able to maintain what we call the un-gym experience by keeping it private, no open gym access.”
“It helps differentiate us from the other gyms,” he added. “That helps diversify the fitness options in the area.”
Fox said people are busy in professional and private lives.
“They don’t want to have to think about their workout, and so they come in, their workout is ready, the coach here is going to push them,” he said. “We joke, all you have to do is show up, we take from there, and if you stop showing up we’ll come knocking.”
“We say that has a joke but that’s the accountability portion as well,” he added. “People are looking for that.”
Fox said winning the award was a surprise and said while they’re used to analyzing how well they’re doing for their clients by looking at the data, they hadn’t considered that for the business itself.
“As much as we’re well aware that we moved and expanded, we’re in it every day,” he said. “So it’s all a bit of a blur, those last seven years.”
“Being named along side the other award winners, those are all very long standing, distinguished and respectable businesses… that’s really cool to be recognized along side them.”
Fox gave credit to his team who he said is constantly learning to reach their own full potential in the industry.
‘“Not any one of us has all the answers but collectively we have a pretty good pool of knowledge,” he said. “They’re passionate for what they do. They’re constantly advocating for the client, on what can we do to provide more value, more resources.
To learn more find Rise Athletics at belifestrong.ca.

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