12 Aug 2019

Duncan & Carla Marchant’s success story!

When did your business open?

We moved back into Coffs Coast way back in 2008 and bought what was then the Link Gym in Toormina. Our goal was to rebrand and redevelop it to become a comfortable, community-based fitness facility called Coffs Coast Health Club. Duncan was originally from Coffs and been in the fitness industry owning, managing and investing in clubs in Canberra.

We had a one-year-old son, I was pregnant with our daughter, and the global financial crisis had just hit. People thought we were crazy, but I think we seem to operate better under a bit of pressure. We opened our Moonee Beach club to service the beautiful northern beaches in 2016.

What have been some changes in your business?

When we first took over the Link Gym, we had a lot of cleaning up to do. We had members smashing weights, meatheads, a poor reputation, poor layout, poor equipment, and a lack of service. The first thing we did was put a wall between the weight room and the group exercise studio. To give the predominantly female group exercise participants some privacy, we upgraded equipment, remove the meatheads, change the layout to make it more open, and introduced several more services. 

We completely changed the brand, environment, culture of the club. We focused on member service, starting with the connection that people have with us in the community, right through to our friendly front desk and onto the gym floor, kids’ club and classes.

How have you adapted as time/technology changes?

The fitness market is always changing and we need to innovate along with it, to stay ahead of the curve. In the last ten years, we have introduced 24/7 access. New member management software, a successful weight loss program, become a registered training organization, licensed exclusive health supplements, introduced new class types, new equipment, run numerous challenges and even opened another club to cater to demand in our local market. 

The changes generally take place through a combination of our very open feedback loop and industry trends. We’ve got some pretty big plans for our next ten years too, as we’ve just signed another long term lease at our Toormina site.

What have been some of your challenges and rewards?

The biggest challenge for both of us? The blood, sweat, tears and sheer hard work it takes to run a successful small business. However, we both love what we do and when that’s the case, you just seem to find a way to overcome any challenges within your business. Traditional rewards have come in the way of Sunny Business Awards, Fitness Australia Awards, and even Telstra Business Awards. There is no better reward than being a trusted part of the community you live in and sharing in the success of your team and clients.

What is the secret to your success?

We always focus on the long game. We’ve been running a business and serving communities in this industry for 20 years. The short term, quick buck mentality of some competitors and products always seems to eventually fall over. Patience and dedication to our philosophy of living in the service of others have held us in good stead, and I don’t ever see that changing. 

And you have a family… How do you juggle it all?

The juggling can get quite tricky at times. There are moments when you feel like you are going to drop all of the balls; however, we have a great support base. Loki, our son, started high school this year. Loki is actively involved in many sports and Olivia our daughter, is in year 5 she is also very active in dance and drama.

We have two businesses that employ over 60 locals, we ran a small farm full of animals, play sport, coach sports, love to socialize and volunteer our time and resources. Duncan and I couldn’t do all of these things if we didn’t have our family, friends and a fantastic team around us. We are very grateful to have them all in our busy lives.

Tell us about your community involvement.

Where do we start? We’ve always been very community-focused with every business we’ve ever owned. Both Duncan, and I, as well as many members of our team, volunteer on boards, chambers of commerce, at local events, online forums, sponsor local sports teams, schools, and individuals. We have a percentage of total income dedicated solely to community involvement, and that’s a positive legacy we wish to leave here on the Coffs Coast.

What advice do you have for other business owners of the Coffs Coast?

Get involved and prove your value to the Coffs Coast. This can be done through many different avenues. Sponsor events, help people in need, coach a sports team, or connect with your community for everyone’s benefit. There’s more to business than just making money.

Put people first and realize that some of the happiest people in the world don’t rely on possessions to make them happy. We realized that when our home burned down in the 2003 Canberra bush fires when we lost all of ours. People don’t remember you for what you have; they remember you for how you make them feel.

What do you enjoy most about living on the Coffs Coast?

The people. We have an amazingly electric collection of humans in our little piece of paradise. There are so many supremely talented and beautiful residents that make up our community.  We plan on spending the rest of our lives here for that very reason.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO KICKSTART YOUR OWN INSPIRATIONAL FITNESS STORY, DROP IN TO SEE DUNCAN & CARLA MARCHANT AT COFFS COAST HEALTH CLUB. YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT OUR RECEPTION TEAM ON 6658 6222. FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK OR DROP IN TO SEE THE FRIENDLY COFFS COAST HEALTH CLUB TEAM AT EITHER TOORMINA OR MOONEE BEACH TO GET STARTED TODAY.

Thanks, Duncan & Carla Marchant.
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