Gyms the right fit for steely pair
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.
Molendinar’s Bobby and Jamie Montesalvo have branched out from steel cutting into a burgeoning crossfit gym equipment business, Alphafit.