Gyms the right fit for steely pair

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - BUSINESS - ALIS­TER THOM­SON alis­ter.thom­son@news.com.au

WHAT was sup­posed to be a one-off job mak­ing fit­ness equipment for a Gold Coast gym has turned into some­thing much health­ier for Jamie and Bobby Mon­te­salvo.

The pair run steel-cut­ting busi­ness Allplates in Molen­d­i­nar, which was es­tab­lished in 1998 and of­fers laser cut­ting, weld­ing, fab­ri­ca­tion and other metal pro­cess­ing ser­vices.

Five years ago Jamie Mon­te­salvo was asked by the owner of a gym he had joined to make equipment, in­clud­ing pull-up struc­tures and box­ing ring rigs.

Vis­it­ing crossfit ath­lete Rob Or­lando was so im­pressed by the qual­ity and de­sign of the equipment that he quickly spread the word about this new Aus­tralian man­u­fac­turer. Ex­cept no such com­pany ex­isted.

Mr Mon­te­salvo said he was re­turn­ing to the Gold Coast from the Fink Desert Race in Alice Springs in 2012 when he de­cided to form Alphafit as a spe­cialised man­u­fac­turer of gym equipment.

“It was re­ally just a one-off job but I started to get so many calls ask­ing me to make other equipment that I de­cided to give it a crack,” he said.

“I came up with a name and sketched the logo on a piece of

paper and started like that. Peo­ple want qual­ity prod­ucts that are fit for pur­pose and Aus­tralian made and that’s where Alphafit comes in.”

Alphafit’s first job was a $6000 con­tract to make a rack for squats and a three-cell free­stand­ing rig for pull-ups for a Fern­wood women’s gym in Bris­bane.

Mr Mon­te­salvo said the busi­ness re­ally took off af­ter they spon­sored the Im­mor­tal Chal­lenge — a crossfit-style com­pe­ti­tion — on the Gold Coast in 2012.

The com­pany made a raft of equipment for the 400 ath­letes, in­clud­ing rigs, sleds and yokes.

He said the chance for top crossfit ath­letes to try out their equipment was pro­mo­tion money couldn’t buy.

“The feed­back was phe­nom­e­nal and the knock-on ef­fect started from there,” Mr Mon­te­salvo said. “We started get- ting calls left, right and cen­tre.”

He said he worked across both Allplates and Alphafit be­tween 2012 and 2014, hir­ing sev­eral staff mem­bers to cope with the in­creased work­load.

“It was more of a hobby for those first few years,” he said.

In 2015 he started re­ceiv­ing calls from large com­mer­cial gym chains, sports clubs and gov­ern­ment agen­cies, ask­ing to fit out gyms with an en­tire range of equipment.

That meant Alphafit needed to im­port equipment it didn’t make — in­clud­ing bar­bells, dumb­bells and ket­tle­balls — to ful­fil the or­ders.

In 2015 Alphafit com­pleted the fitout of the Bris­bane Lions gym and gained Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice as a cus­tomer, in ad­di­tion to oth­ers.

The com­pany, which has 800sq m of space in Molen­d­i­nar as well as a 158sq m show­room, now has more than 6000 cus­tomers and a prod­uct range in ex­cess of 1300 items.

Mr Mon­te­salvo said they want to ex­pand from crossfit gyms into strength and con­di­tion­ing, and body­build­ing chains such as Fit­ness First, where he be­lieves the mar­ket is grow­ing.

Alphafit is on track for 30 to 40 per cent rev­enue growth in 2017-18 af­ter 103 per cent growth in 2016-17.

Pic­ture: JERAD WIL­LIAMS

Molen­d­i­nar’s Bobby and Jamie Mon­te­salvo have branched out from steel cut­ting into a bur­geon­ing crossfit gym equipment busi­ness, Alphafit.

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