27 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2024 issue 3

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Leisure Management - BLK BOX – Shared ethos


BLK BOX – Shared ethos

The partnership between PureGym and Belfast-based supplier BLK BOX is transforming the gym floor

BLK BOX has been working with PureGym to fit out functional areas photo: Pure Gym
PureGym is growing globally and in the UK photo: Pure Gym
photo: BLK BOX
On-site installations at PureGym photo: BLK BOX
BLK BOX has an end-to-end supply chain, meaning total quality control photo: BLK BOX/ katmar_mck96

Ever since BLK BOX won the tender to supply a bespoke Functional Training Zone concept to all PureGym’s UK sites in 2018, the enthusiastic adoption of this form of training by members has been gathering pace at the operator’s 370 clubs.

As PureGym sets its sights on global expansion – with BLK BOX as a trusted partner and supplier – the Functional Training Zones are maturing from a ‘concept-within-a-concept’, into an integrated core offer.

Commercial director of BLK BOX, Miles Canning, says: “When we embarked on the contract with PureGym, there was trepidation in the market that functional fitness might be too hard-hitting for the average gym member.

“However, we were able to deliver a softer introduction to functional and strength training that fitted into the PureGym environment. This included everything from the concept, design, manufacture, delivery and installation, through to the education of PTs on how functional training can be delivered.

“The fact we were able to install these zones in 150 PureGym sites in the first 18 months is testament to how quickly the concept was taken up by members and it’s been one of PureGym’s most successful launches ever.”

The Functional Training Zones were designed as flexible spaces, adaptable for one-to-one workouts and group classes. They included a Goliath series functional rig, agility turf flooring, smart storage and a range of BLK BOX equipment, designed and manufactured at the company’s factory in Belfast.

Moving into the mainstream
As the popularity of functional training continues to grow, so the PureGym/BLK BOX relationship has evolved, with the line between ‘regular’ gym offerings and functional training becoming blurred.

Initially the Functional Training Zones covered 1,000sq ft, but more recent installations have morphed into larger combined functional and free weight zones that cover up to 5,200sq ft.

With PureGym being the UK’s largest gym operator, with around 1.5 million customers, the collaboration is bringing this combined experience to many more people.

PureGym plans to continue its UK and international expansion and BLK BOX is supplying functional, free weights and accessories to sites in Denmark, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia as a result.

Ben Stocks, MD of BLK BOX says: “Each country presents cultural and logistical challenges that operators and suppliers must navigate, however, BLK BOX already had market knowledge and experience of working in Saudi Arabia, which helped get the ball rolling.

“Since 2019, we’ve had to navigate challenges presented by pandemic lockdowns, supply chain disruptions and Red Sea shipping delays. Full transparency and accurate forecasting from both sides have helped steer us through and our partnership is as strong as ever.”

Global expansion
For its next phase of growth, PureGym has plans to open sites across the UK and Switzerland, to invest in and optimise its Danish estate and expand internationally through franchising.

While some suppliers might struggle to keep up with such an ambitious rollout, BLK BOX is built on firm ‘Made in Northern Ireland’ foundations. It has control of its end-to-end supply chain, bolstered by in-house teams covering design through to installation, as well as products with built-in scalability and industry-beating lead times.

Canning says: “For BLK BOX to be able to adapt, scale and deliver on all PureGym’s goals and support its vision means the relationship has already been a success and we look forward to what the continuing partnership will bring.”

Richard Annetts, head of gym format and equipment at PureGym, says: “The BLK BOX team’s willingness to invest resources and proactive support towards PureGym’s objectives demonstrates a pace and ethos that mirrors our own.

“The synergy between our teams has been key to our success in developing the functional and strength training zones that have become integral to our gyms.

“The next 12 months will be particularly exciting in Denmark as we roll out a significant investment programme, within which we’ll be trailing a number of new products from BLK BOX,” he says.

“With this continued focus on innovation, BLK BOX will help us to maintain our commercial edge, delivering substantial value to our members and leading the way in gym offerings.”


photo: Pure Gym

"The synergy between PureGym and BLK BOX has been key to our success in developing the functional and strength training zones that have become integral to our gyms " – Richard Annetts, PureGym

Originally published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 3

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