By Sally McGlew
THE benefits of being based in Western Australia have shone through for Sista Fitness owner Maggie Carroll, despite the economic interruptions of COVID-19.
While media reports in Melbourne stated 60 per cent of gyms lost 100 per cent of their clients during their extended lock down, Sista Fitness has managed to grow its membership and move premises.
“We were closed for three months and in that 12 weeks there were a lot of unknowns,” Ms Carroll said.
“We didn’t know if the members would come back.
“But human interaction is so important and the community came back for it which is also important for mental health.”
Competing with fitness apps is also another way gyms can be broken in COVID-19 times, yet Sista’s faithful members have re-joined and new members have joined in higher numbers since COVID-19 restrictions have lifted.
Maggie Carroll said COVID-19 gave her the confidence to move premises.
“We have a very loyal client base and they love the classes and the créche for the kids, so mums can take a break and allocate that hour a day to themselves,” she said.
“Jobkeeper also helped us to retain 95 per cent of our staff and we like to employ people that live locally so we can be a part of the community.
“We also made a point of staying connected to our members during COVID-19 through online content and social media which was important for our membership.”
Sista Fitness has moved to the former Rebel Sport premises on Great Eastern Highway, Midland.
Despite COVID-19 slowing the delivery of equipment for the gym floor, the popularity of classes at Sista Fitness has never been greater.
“With work outs, consistency is the most important ingredient and sometimes if you are working out at home and attempting to exercise a lot of things like dogs, kids, phones can interfere with your program.
“If you come to the gym you know you can get your workout done, which has kept us popular as a go to destination for a workout,” she said.
Up the hill in Mundaring, the Shire’s first small bar Hemingway and Co is opening this week.
Proprietor Lisa Barnett Taylor, is the Shire’s first small bar licensee.
“When this space became available I thought the timing was actually really good,” she said.
“I had some time off for COVID and I had time to think about what I wanted to do, which I think a lot of people did, a lot of people reassessed.
“I go out locally a lot, I live locally and enjoy dining out and eating at local establishments.
“I noticed people weren’t travelling as much and I thought it was good timing for Mundaring to have a new business and for people to embrace it.”
Hemingway and Co is designed with touches of Parisian accents, inspired by Mrs Barnett Taylor’s time in France, with a rustic authenticity that reflects the space’s existing brick interior.
She said the Mundaring business community had rallied behind each other during the pandemic.
“I’ve been in business in Mundaring for ten years, and I was on the Chamber of Commerce for five years, they’re a great bunch of people, they’re a build you up group of people,” she said.
“The business community is so supportive of each other, especially during hard times like COVID-19, we’ve gone out of our way to make sure everyone is buying local and also supporting local.”
The dream hasn’t been easy with fridges and other necessities for the bar out of stock and the beer taps, which arrived on Monday, stuck in Singapore for months.
“A lot of people have said why don’t you open in the New Year but we want to capture that fun Christmas spirit and end a difficult year on a high note,” she said.
Meanwhile in Kalamunda, Our Flower Studio used the turmoil of the year to their advantage, remarketing and moving from Lesmurdie to a bigger store on Haynes Street.
Owner and florist Lucinda Smith-Pedlar said the restrictions on weddings, birthdays and other social gatherings at first had them frightened .
“It’s been made up for and bloomed like crazy in other ways,” she said.
“We had to be the middle person to communicate love between people who couldn’t see each other.
“Flowers can say it for you when words or a hug can’t.”