Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-fitstop,-kilkenny:-hardworking-aussie-couple-face-financial-ruin-as-business-strugglesAlert – FitStop, Kilkenny: Hardworking Aussie couple face financial ruin as business struggles

The owners of a trendy gym franchise who begged for help on social media to save their business have sparked fierce debate. 

Jon and El Trovas, a long-time couple and the owners of FitStop in Kilkenny in Adelaide’s western suburbs, made an emotional plea warning they could lose their home and business if more people don’t sign up. 

The couple confessed they’ve already put their house on the line to finance the group fitness business venture.

‘Unfortunately for us we are working against the clock,’ Mr Trovas said in a video.

‘We have some pretty big expenses starting very soon, including our rent which is going to mean that we are running out of time to get to our break-even goal.’

While many hard-working ns symptathised with their plight, some claimed they should have known the risks before opening a roughly $50-a-week gym amid soaring rents and a nationwide cost-of-living crisis.

‘Sympathetic, but owning and operating a business requires planning and goals – nothing is guaranteed and this happens, plus in a saturated market,’ one said.

A second added: ‘This is sad, but I couldn’t imagine opening a guy like FitStop would be easy… there are so many gyms just like it, multiple in the same suburb. seems like a risky business choice.’

Others pointed out that during financial stress, luxury purchases such as gyms are always the first thing to go. 

One person said: ‘During the cost of living crisis, the first thing I decided to give up was my gym membership.’

‘A lot of people are facing a cost of living crisis, and gym memberships are high on the chopping block, people are turning back to walking, running, cycling, swimming, or buying their own equipment,’ one person wrote.

Another added: ‘Given the lights off most days most potential customers driving by probably think you are closed forever or the fact you aren’t open standard hours why would they pay a membership when there are unlimited 24/7 gyms around.’

As it stands the couple are already one month behind in rent, which costs $100,000 a year with an annual four per cent increase, while electricity bills for the gym are $900 a month.

They opened the gym last November with just 30 members – which has only grown to 70 members despite their marketing efforts.

Mr Trovas said 70 members isn’t enough to survive, and that the gym needs 50 new members to sign up before July 20, or it will have to close on July 27.

‘The thing that makes this so hard for us guys is that we absolutely love and value every one of you and we genuinely feel like we’ve made meaning and authentic friendships with so many of you,’ he continued.

‘Where we’re at, we’re still about 50 members short of break-even. So we’ve had to make some really, really hard decisions.

‘And I want to be open and honest about where we’re at. We need to hit 50 new members by Saturday, July 20. If we can’t reach that target we are going to have to make the incredibly hard decision to close our doors on Saturday, July 27.

‘What we are asking you, our wonderful friends and members, that if you can help us by referring people to sign up to be a paying member.’

Mrs Trovas said the couple had already made a number of personal sacrifices, including owning only one car for which they have skipped services on.

The couple are considering taking their two boys out of daycare.

‘My husband has even tried looking for a second job. He’s applied for a job in a prison and overnight shifts stocking stuff on shelves,’ she told The Advertiser. 

‘Being a business owner means people typically assume we had money to invest into doing this – but that simply wasn’t the case. 

‘We’ve put our house into this, so if we close, we lose our house.’

The couple also use a split system to save on electricity at the gym by opening from 4.30am to 10.30am before closing and reopening at 4.30pm.

Many Aussies declared their support for the gym on social media. 

‘Hope these people can get enough new memberships to see them through these hard time,’ one said.

A second added: ‘I admire anyone who has the guts to start their own business and wish the economic times were more supportive of all these struggling small businesses in SA at present.’

New members can trial FitStop for two weeks for $54 or for three weeks for $99. 

FitStop was founded in 2013 by Peter and Bec Hull – who sold her Toyota Corolla for $18,000 in order to fund the business. 

The brand expanded to the United States and opened 38 new franchises in 2023 and is estimated to make $30million in revenue each year. 

There are over 100 FitStop studios across on the east and west coast. 

Daily Mail has contacted FitStop Kilkenny for comment. 

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