Our People - Fraser Stevenson
Born and bred in Mansfield, Fraser now runs Mansfield’s only dedicated sports apparel and equipment store
FRASER Stevenson’s journey as a sports lover began when he started school and played junior footy in Mansfield.
From there, Fraser played in the fourths, thirds, seniors and was even selected in the first ever Murray Bushrangers team.
But it was football that first led Fraser away from Mansfield, when he moved to Benalla to play in the Ovens and Murray league for the side then known as the Benalla Demons.
Fraser then took his footy career up a notch, relocating to Western Australia to play for West Perth in Western Australia’s premier footballing league, the WAFL.
It was here when Fraser became open to the idea of a career in fitness and health.
“When I went over to West Perth I was exposed to that real professionalism in the footy club,” said Fraser.
“And that kind of got me interested in fitness.”
Fraser then moved to Melbourne, where he undertook personal training courses and landed a corporate gig with Flight Centre.
“I worked with an internal part of their business called Health Wise, which looked after all their staff,” said Fraser.
“I was lucky enough to get a team leader role there, and I looked after the personal trainers and masseuses.”
Fraser said Flight Centre was one of the first companies to put considerable time and money into looking after the physical health of staff.
“The company just saw great benefits in caring for staff, and it lowered the absentee rate by 50 per cent,” he said.
The care Fraser and his team provided involved health and diet consultations, group training, personal training and massage.
“It was all about that work-life balance, and Flight Centre pioneered that, and now a lot of companies are doing that model as well,” said Fraser.
“I really enjoyed it; it was a good time in my life.”
When Fraser and wife Kylie found out their first child, Remy, was on the way, the pair decided they would like to raise their family back home.
It was around this time, back in 2006, when Fraser and Kylie decided to open a sports store in Mansfield.
“Growing up here I saw there was always a bit of a niche, being a big sporting community, and there wasn’t really anything to give locals that option to buy footwear and equipment in town,” said Fraser.
“I just thought ‘oh well, I’ll give it a go’, and we started quite small.
“The town is getting busier and busier, but the locals themselves are kind of sports mad, so the shop was received well and supported well.
“We’re still going, 10 years strong and growing.”
Fraser and Kylie’s store, Sportfirst, now plays a significant role in an unquestionably sports loving town.
“I like to look after young kids coming through with footwear and apparel, and hopefully offer a good service to locals, so they don’t have to go out of town to get benefits that we should have easy access to here,” said Fraser.
“We are grateful for the support we receive, and without the support we wouldn’t exist.”
Fraser’s niche in the Mansfield sporting community, however, goes beyond his shop.
Fraser was a member of Mansfield’s last two premiership sides ( 2004 and 2009) and coached Mansfield’s senior side in 2012 and 2013.
The premierships are times Fraser remembers fondly.
“That was a bit of reward for the town, and I’ll never forget that premiership,” said Fraser, speaking of Mansfield’s 2004 triumph.
“It was pretty special for the whole town itself; we had finally cracked it in the major league.”
Now, when he isn’t fathering his beautiful children Levi (6) and Remy (10) with Kylie, Fraser offers an essential service to kids who want to follow in his footsteps, and win more premierships for Mansfield.
PREMIERSHIP HERO: After playing in Mansfield’s last two footy premierships, Fraser Stevenson has settled into his professional niche at Sportfirst, supplying Mansfield with sporting equipment and apparel.