Over the last few years, Mel Tempest had come to a realization: She wanted to change more lives and make a bigger impact through Ballarat Body and Soul 24/7 Gym, the gym she founded in Australia 15 years ago.
She was faced with two choices: Either sell the club, so that new eyes could take over and create something fresh and different; or retain the club and take it to the next level in another way.
The second option prevailed. Earlier this month, Tempest announced a partnership with Genesis Health & Fitness, a leading fitness chain in Australia. Tempest will retain ownership, while the gym will be transformed into a Genesis Health & Fitness and Coaching Zone location in mid March of 2019.
For more insight into what the change means for the club and its members, we spoke with Tempest:
MT: There were a number of factors — one of them was that I’m still passionate about teaching group fitness. I love being part of what is, for some people, the best part of their day. I didn’t want to give that up, but at the same time, I knew as an independent owner, I had taken my club as far as I could as a leader. In order for me to offer the community and my team a larger scale of choice, it would be a great move to become part of one of Australia’s leading chains. I also knew if I was going to continue to help other owners globally with their clubs, I actually had to have a growing club — you can’t preach what you don’t practice.
MT: The brand of “Body and Soul” won’t disappear — it will always be a part of our community. And on a national and global level, it will always be known as a success story for an independent owner. The culture that comes with our experience can’t be erased — it’s our team, me and our love for what we do that created a brand. We, as a team and family, will carry that into the new Genesis branding, which in return may see other clubs within the chain adopt some of our principles that have been successful.
MT: For our members, the community they love won’t change. However, it now means they will have access to Genesis Health & Fitness clubs, and at a later date this year, Coaching Zones (functional training boutiques). Genesis is overseen by Australia’s largest independent company, Belgravia Leisure, which manages leisure centers, caravan parks, day spas and gymnastic venues. They also have a partnership with Novofit, Australia’s leading equipment supplier. So our members will have an added value to the membership.
The fitness industry in Australia has changed dramatically in the last 12 months — new boutique trends developed by Australians are emerging, as well as new business summits. New leaders and influencers are now in demand as the culture shifts to a more dynamic collaborative network. It’s exciting and I’m honored.