A business boss has praised the people of Hartlepool for kick-starting his company’s plans for national expansion.
Charles Buchanan spoke out after the fit4less gym at Mayfield Park, Hartlepool, attracted its 1,000th customer in less than six months since it opened.
Mr Buchanan – who also runs fit4less gyms in Percy Park, Blaydon and Morpeth – said: “This has been the best response we have ever had. From that humble beginning, it has been a fantastic response.
“It shows that Hartlepool was ready for something like this and we are now actively looking for other sites to expand into.
“We shall be opening our fifth site in the North-East soon although we can not yet say where it is, but we will also be looking to move onto a national scale and we shall be using Hartlepool as the model.
“Although we started out on Tyneside, we ironed out any faults there and certainly Hartlepool has been the ideal model. The people of the town embraced it, including many who had never exercised before.”
The £500,000 hi-tech fitness centre uses biometric fingerprinting techniques to admit members.
Tyneside business pair Mr Buchanan and Stephen Nicholson converted a sports hall into the public gym at Mayfield Park, the home of Hartlepool Rugby Football Club.
They invested £250,000 in refurbishing the 5,000 sq ft facility, and another £250,000 on kitting the building out with treadmills, cycles, steppers and strength machines. Gym users are admitted via their fingerprints.