Published: 06:00, 01 March 2021
A businessman planning to open a new gym in Herne Bay hopes the inclusion of a barber shop will make it a cut above the rest.
Leading Results Fitness has launched a bid to convert part of manufacturer Wahl’s former Sea Street base into a fitness centre.
Company boss Rob Whitfield says the 930 sq m facility will create 15 new jobs and be equipped with physiotherapy and massage rooms.
But he believes the addition of a hair-cutting business to the site will help get punters through the door.
“People are often driving into town, paying for parking and waiting in town to go to the barber’s,” he explained.
“It’s often young guys wanting to look good who are going, and they're our target demographic. We’re throwing it out there to see if it works.
“It’ll be a complete all-in-one fitness centre. When I last counted, there were 30 pieces of cardio equipment and 160 pieces of gym equipment.
“It will definitely be the largest independent gym in the area.”
Mr Whitfield is hoping to secure the green light from Canterbury City Council to turn the space into a gym, ahead of a planned summer opening.
Month-long membership schemes will cost fitness fanatics £39.99, while students and emergency service workers will be given a £10 discount.
Classes will include sessions designed to introduce women to training with free weights.
Mr Whitfield, whose firm runs a gym in Ashford, says he considered two other buildings, including a former car showroom in Vauxhall Road, Canterbury.
“At our gym in Ashford, our oldest member is 77 and youngest is 18, and over 40% of our members are women,” he added.
"We have a complete mix of people that I imagine we’ll also have in Herne Bay
“We’re looking to recruit from the local area and want to create 15 jobs, with five of those being apprentices in personal training and health and wellbeing.”
The gym owner expects the centre to operate between 5am and 11pm most days.
Wahl decided to put its buildings on the market for £4.5 million two years ago, ahead of a move to larger offices in Manston.
And Mr Whitfield understands that a plumbing and heating business will be joining him on the site.
“I believe the landlord has divided our site up into four units,” he said.
“It’s a big old site with ample parking.”