ON June 1, 2009 Dizzee Rascal’s Bonkers was number one, Dave Penney was Oldham Athletic’s manager and Elite Fitness gym opened its doors for the first time.
Ten years on Dizzee is no longer topping the charts, Penney is working in non-league but Elite Fitness on Grains Road is going from strength to strength.
Next month husband and wife partnership Jordan and Katie Smithies will celebrate their 10th birthday with their growing membership in constantly upgraded facilities.
And there’s plenty going on under the one roof, though admittedly it’s a large roof to cover the 12,000 sq ft facility including a 6,000 sq ft gym floor based in the former Tara Sports & Leisure sports centre.
At the last count the duo and their staff run the A to Z of classes, approximately 35 in total from aerobics to Zumba.
There are sessions for teenagers, enough equipment to exhaust the most ardent gym goer, even a qualified practitioner to teach self-defence and fighting system known as Krav Maga.
“Time flies,” smiled Jordan who ran several bars in Oldham and worked in hospitality before deciding on a career change.
“I probably thought I would never be doing this still 10 years on. However, we have gone from strength to strength.
“It’s not always been easy but we have always tried to reinvest any money that has come into the business.”
Prior to Christmas 2018, the premises underwent a £15,000 refit. An upgrade of the male changing facilities followed while more recently another five-figure sum has gone into introducing new cardiovascular kit.
“It’s a proper commercial gym but it still has that independent feel,” added Jordan. “All our members have loved the changes.”
Wife Katie joined the business in 2016, switching professions entirely after her previous job as a commercial estate agent.
“We always laugh because a lot of the big work has been done over the last two and a half years so Katie gets credit.
“But a lot of the hard work has been down to her. And it’s been good to have another pair of eyes and also a woman’s touch.
“Looking back I think originally trying to open my own gym was a bit of a pipe dream.
“But coming to Tara – as it was at the time – was taking over an established concern and we already had a membership base.
“However, the gym was only small and the space was really only getting used in the evening.
“We have made all the improvements to increase foot flow through the facility.
“Ten years on, we still have people coming in saying they didn’t realise we are here or I didn’t expect how good the facilities are.
“But on the flip side there are people who have been coming in for the last 10 years which shows we are doing something right.”
See for yourself. Elite recently reverted to summer opening hours of 6am through to 10pm on Monday to Friday and from 8am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.