A personal trainer’s female-only gym studio in Carrickfergus is going from strength to strength after she turned her passion for fitness into a business, with the support of the Go For It Programme.
The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
Christine Surgenor launched Bel-Tonz Studio in February 2018 after spotting a gap in the local market for a female-only fitness studio, having been inundated with requests for women-only classes by clients, friends and family.
Bel-Tonz Studio is based on a 30-minute fitness and weight loss circuit designed to cater to the specific fitness needs of women in an informal, friendly and non-intimidating atmosphere. It also offers a range of classes including: Kettlebells, Core, Fight, High Intensity Interval Training and Self-defence.
Clients receive a personally-tailored Figure Analysis & Assessment when they initially sign-up, as well as ongoing nutritional support and monthly assessments to track their fitness and weight loss journey.
Christine has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years and she has done everything from managing a female fitness studio, to personal training, teaching classes and managing sports stores.
After the death of her mother, Christine spurred herself on and started to purchase items of gym equipment with the plan to one day open her own fitness studio. She turned to the Go For It Programme in late 2017 when she found the perfect location for her business in the heart of Woodburn, Carrickfergus.
Christine Surgenor, owner of Bel-Tonz Studio, said: “My mother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia for a long time and died at an early age. This changed my outlook on life and from that moment on I made a promise to myself that I would chase my dreams.
“I have always had a real passion for fitness so it was obvious it was always going to be a big part of my life. I really get a buzz from helping people achieve their fitness and weight loss goals, especially women, as we battle our negative body issues.
“My dream was to one day have my own fitness space and now I’m the proud owner of Bel-Tonz Studio. There are currently over 150 active members already signed-up and the place is really buzzing. I have created an environment where normal everyday women can feel at ease, get a good workout and socialise with friends.
“It wouldn’t have been possible with the support of the Go For It programme. My business advisor Alan Hamilton at Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency (CEAL) was really supportive and helped me compile a personalised business plan that mapped out exactly what I needed to do. Once I had this I was able to secure a loan to fit out the premises and purchase the equipment I needed.
“It has been a hectic few months, but it’s been an amazing experience and hopefully I have made my mum very proud.”
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
Alan Hamilton, Business Advisor with at CEAL in Carrickfergus said; “Christine joined the Go For It Programme with a clear idea for a business that she is genuinely passionate about. You could tell straight away how hard-working and motivated she was to open her own business and make it a real success.
“We worked with her to develop her business plan, focusing key areas such as marketing and financial forecasts. It also allowed her to secure a business loan from the Enterprise NI Loan, which was final piece of the jigsaw to getting the studio up and running.
“It’s great to see Bel-Tonz absolutely thriving with so many members already signed-up. Everyone at CEAL wishes Christine all the best with her business venture.”
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business call 0800 027 0639 or visit: visit www.goforitni.com