B! Health & Fitness lifts its financial weight

Johnson Reed
2m read

When Craig Bernhardt retired at the age of 47, he decided to pursue his long-held dream of opening his very own gym. Craig had a clear idea of what he wanted to create – a different type of exercise centre with bespoke equipment and kit. The problem was, he couldn’t get the financing…

The banks were reluctant to help Craig with funding, and after putting in some of his own capital to get the ball rolling, he turned to Johnson Reed – whom he had heard about through one of his suppliers.

Craig had spoken to a few others about potential financing, but it was Johnson Reed’s Director Jamie Collier whom he felt most comfortable with. Jamie clearly understood what Craig was trying to achieve, and the entrepreneur knew that this was the sort of expertise he needed to make his gym business dream a reality.

Johnson Reed helped to fund the first B! Health & Fitness site in Lyme Regis through equipment finance – including gym kit, flooring, and advanced training machines. The business performed so well that the three-year lease was paid back in just 18 months, and Johnson Reed stepped in again in 2018 to help Craig launch a second, bigger site in Honiton, Devon.

B! Health & Fitness and Johnson Reed are now engaged in a strong, healthy relationship. Having just passed the 2,000-member mark, B! is in an excellent position finance-wise. Overheads have been covered, loans have been repaid, and the gyms are kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment – including SkiErgs, StairMasters, a nine-metre power sled track and an eight-metre CrossFit rig.

Craig has negotiated a five-year lease for his second site, which should prove to be another cost-effective business decision. His aim is to open another two or three more gyms in the surrounding areas – with Johnson Reed right by his side every step of the way for financing.

“There are a lot of upfront costs involved in running a gym. You’re an unknown entity which makes getting finance difficult. The banks weren’t interested and saw us as just another gym. Johnson Reed were different, though. After using some of my own capital, Johnson Reed financing helped plug the gap so that we could get started on rolling out our business model – which has since moved from strength to strength.”

Craig Bernhardt