Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards marketing manager Renee Murphy interviews past winners on business resilience, recovery, and transformation since COVID-19.
Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards marketing manager Renee Murphy interviews past winners on business resilience, recovery, and transformation since COVID-19. The Daily Examiner

COVID-19 recovery corner: Gym puts in hard yards to reopen

WHILE social gathering rules have forced the awards component to be put on hold for 2020, the Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards has shifted its focus to support local businesses by inspiring resilience, guidance and support on business recovery over this challenging period.

Each week The Daily Examiner will present a Q&A with previous CVBEA winners, and in our first instalment CVBEA marketing manager Renee Murphy caught up with Kathryn Langford and Jenny Ryder from 2019 triple-award winners Anytime Fitness.

 

Anytime Fitness Grafton won the Clarence Valley and Northern Rivers business excellence awards for Excellence in Health, Care and Wellness Industries.
Anytime Fitness Grafton won the Clarence Valley and Northern Rivers business excellence awards for Excellence in Health, Care and Wellness Industries.

ANYTIME FITNESS

2019 Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards:

• Excellence in Health, Care and Wellness Industries

• Excellence in Work Health and Safety

• Excellence in Accessibility Regional Award Winners

2019 Regional NSW Business Chamber Awards:

• Excellence in Health, Care and Wellness Industries

Renee Murphy: Kathryn and Jenny were CVBEA winners in several categories in 2019. Have you won any other awards?

 

Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards marketing manager Renee Murphy interview past winners on business resilience,recovery, and transformation since COVID-19.
Clarence Valley Business Excellence Awards marketing manager Renee Murphy interview past winners on business resilience,recovery, and transformation since COVID-19.

 

Anytime Fitness: On May 7 we won Business of the Year with Fitness Australia. It was an industry award that had over 2000 entrants and little old Grafton Anytime Fitness took out this incredibly special award.

RM: What did you do to celebrate?

AF: Because we were unable to attend the black-tie event in Sydney due to social distancing and travel restrictions, we got dressed up in our ball gowns and had a bit of a get together with our admin team in our backyard.

RM: Have you been relaxing over this period while all gyms have been closed?

AF: No. Working harder than when the gyms were open! We decided to use this time effectively by giving our club a bit of a face lift - making it feel fresher and brighter and with the social distancing requirements of 1.5 metres it does make the club feel a lot bigger also. We chose to use this time as a positive and to give back to our community by providing them a fresh new club when we could finally open again.

RM: Prior to the start of the COVID crisis did you have any business continuity plans in place to cover a major incident of any kind like this?

AF: We definitely had no plan in place. Being a 24-hour club we never in our wildest dreams had a closure plan in place. Our lights never turn off and as our company name suggests we are always open.

RM: So when do the lights officially turn back on?

AF: We are overly excited to reopen on June 13 (today). We can't wait. Our whole team will be staffing our post COVID reopening, we will be there to welcome all our old and new members back into the club.

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RM: What steps has your business put in place to retain clients over this period?

AF: Besides the refurb we decided to create two Facebook groups. One for our current members and one for the whole community. Every single day we did an online video like an exercise class. We rotated our staff and PTs and sent these videos out to our Facebook groups. We tried to be as innovative as possible with incorporating items our members/viewers might have at home, such as tins of vegetables, milk bottles, whatever they had as we knew most would not have gym equipment at home.

We also hid little rocks around Grafton with 'Anytime Fitness Grafton' painted on them. If they were found then they would receive a prize. We did it to encourage people to get out of their houses and use the 30-minute outdoor activity time we were all granted per day.

RM: What do you think will be your biggest challenge in re-establishing your business?

AF: I think adhering to the new COVID guidelines and implementing this daily within our clubs will be a challenge as of course it is something new for all of us. We have had to increase and adhere to very strict cleaning and sanitising guidelines.

We feel some members might lack confidence in returning as gyms were deemed areas for potential COVID infection, yet we want to reassure all our old and new members that our club will have extremely high levels of hygiene and cleanliness.

RM: In hindsight is there anything that you would have done that would have made your business more resilient to the COVID crisis?

AF: That is a tricky one. We probably didn't take the risk of closure serious enough. We sat down on the Friday, had a discussion with our team and we thought potentially we may be closed for a week or so. Sometimes we think very positively being in the industry we are in and so don't take things like monthly closures into account. Financial impacts of two weeks versus 10 weeks is a far different discussion and mindset to have.

RM: Was there anything else that you would like to add?

AF: We would like to add that when our doors do open on June 13, COVID isn't finished. We have worked day and night refurbishing the club. Our team and us both haven't been on a little relaxing holiday, we have had to work very hard over this time, especially behind the scenes in delivering a beautiful fresh new club. We of course have not set the COVID guidelines and so there will be change like there is everywhere. We just ask for some patience and understanding to ensure we keep a safe, clean and beautiful environment for all our members now and in the future.

For the full Zoom interview with Anytime Fitness Grafton, please head over to the CVBEA Facebook page.



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