Since the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses have been regularly affected by the vagaries of the Public Health’s decisions. The fitness industry has been one of the hardest hit, given the complete closures since the first confinement in March 2020.
Buckingham Fitness and Buckingham CrossFit owner Pier-Guy Larochelle is a fighter. Like CrossFit enthusiasts who work extremely hard when training, he never gave up. He performed well despite the many obstacles that he has had to confront over the past year and a half.
As such, he was ecstatic to see the members of his two companies again May 31, given the green light issued from Public Health to reopen the training centres. It was actually the third reunion, following the first two waves.
“To keep people healthy, there is nothing better than training. The closure of centres and the standards put in place have led many towards a more sedentary lifestyle. People need to train in order to regain some control over their lives and, more specifically, good habits.”
Mr. Larochelle makes no secret of the fact that it is up to fitness centre owners to prove to Public Health that they can be part of the solution. Let’s just say that the Mega Fitness Gym in Quebec City, the source of several hundred cases of Covid-19, did not help the industry. That being said, he is proud of the standards he and his team have put in place to ensure that a similar situation does not occur in his two Buckingham facilities.
“We make it a point to comply with Public Health guidelines given that the spotlight is on us. We have to prove that we can provide a safe place to train by taking every precaution necessary. It is clear that taking the right decisions will greatly reduce risks.”
One of the first decisions to reduce the risks was to set up an online reservation system for training slots. This was an investment of several thousand dollars, which Mr. Larochelle believes is essential to ensure the safety of the members.
“They had to adapt to this new way of doing things,” he explained. “At first, it was not easy for them to determine a time to train and it took them out of their comfort zone. Gradually, this habit became part of their daily routine, as was respecting the sanitary measures implemented during training. For us, it’s zero tolerance because we want to remain open forever.”
Wind in Our Sails
Before Covid-19 appeared in Québec, everything was going well for Pier-Guy Larochelle’s two companies. 2019 had been a pivotal year for the company, as several pieces of equipment had been added to both facilities. In addition, the company had a new name, “Buckingham Fitness”, after operating under one banner since the beginning.
“We’ve been through some huge changes in a short span of time. Let’s just say that the improvements had to be done quickly, in order to adapt to the new realities. The complete uncertainty of the situation led to a certain loss of control, my family was at risk of losing everything. I was evaluating all my previous decisions when I had no control over the situation,” explains the businessman who runs the company with his wife.
A Positive Outlook Despite Everything
As a workout enthusiast, Pier-Guy Larochelle is far from letting adversity get him down. The closure of office space in downtown Gatineau convinced many people to use his Buckingham sector facilities to get back into shape. What’s more, his staff has remained loyal throughout this health crisis.
“Each time all my employees came back to work,” he says proudly. “I remain quite positive despite the situation. The ultimate goal is to get through it. Yes, we have more debt, but we are rolling up our sleeves and working even harder. We want to continue our mission to help our members feel good about themselves each day.”
Aware that members and even non-members are shopping online more and more, the company recently launched a brand new online shop. Supplements, local products, the full range of clothing and much more can be purchased. Shoppers can use the Canada Post-delivery option or simply pick up at the front desk for free. For complete details, visit buckinghamfitness.ca
999, rue Dollard, Buckingham
819 986-5496 • buckinghamfitness.ca
121, avenue Lépine, Buckingham
819 986-5496 • buckinghamcrossfit.ca