TWO brothers with backgrounds in rugby and bodybuilding have opened a fitness gym with help from the Sir Norman Stoller-backed Oldham Enterprise Fund.
Chris Kiss and brother Steven, aged 25 and 27, launched the Kiss Fitness Centre at a former industrial unit in Saddleworth Business Park in Diggle.
Both brothers have played rugby for Saddleworth Rangers and Steven is a British, European and international muscle model champion.
Chris and Steven received business advice from Oldham Enterprise Trust, a £5,000 grant from the Oldham Enterprise Fund, along with a £750 voucher for advice on accounts, marketing and networking.
Chris explained: “Oldham Enterprise Trust helped with our business plan and cash-flow, and we also got in touch with the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub, which was also useful. We would encourage other people to contact the Oldham Enterprise Trust, whether start-up or established businesses, for advice and potential financial loans and grants through the fund.”
They used Oldham solicitors Norcross, Lees & Riches for matters relating to the property lease.
As youngsters, the brothers attended St Damien RC Science College in Tameside then Hopwood Hall College, where they studied personal training courses. After college they started competing in body building contests. Steven went on to win British and European championships and came second place on the Miami Pro World Championships.
Chris said: “Our fitness centre is based in a 5,500 sq ft property which was previously used as a workshop and for storage. We moved in during the summer and had the place fitted-out with excellent equipment and facilities for men and women.
“But it was a four or five-year process to find the right property. We’ve looked at lots of locations, but it was hard to find everything we needed, including enough level floor space, good light and car parking.
“We think the Saddleworth area needs a gym like this. We’ve positioned it between a commercial gym, with cleanliness and good specifications, and a friendly, independently-run gym.
“We are trying to change the perception of gyms and fitness training. There is a lot of miseducation about weight loss, diets and calorie defects. There’s too often a focus on losing weight but not enough about toning-up and building muscle. There’s a whole world of gym equipment and training that many people are not aware of. There also a growing women’s training scene, which we want to be part of.
“Overall, we want to offer a comprehensive range of services for everyone, from beginners to regular gym users. Mental health is also really important. We’ll focus on overall good health.”
Chris said the gym has been visited by Oldham’s former Manchester United star Paul Scholes, women from the England Netball team and rugby professional Joe Greenwood, a former Saddleworth Rangers and St Helens player who is now with Wigan Warriors and England.**