Tuesday, October 20, 2009

UFIT "In" our neighbourhood... congratulations

It's always a great story when you see someone young work hard on their vision and then bust out as a big winner and that is exactly what Eireann Rigby has done here... she had a "concept" that she believed in and over the last seven years she has continued to "push hard" at developing and expanding her simple all-inclusive fun activity program to help people get in shape and it's working... back a few years ago I started taking notice of the name as it was popping up at some events I attended with a very fun theme... it wasn't long afterwards that I took notice of a fun looking Mini Cooper all "pimped" out (an expression from my oldest son) with the UFIT logos... I couldn’t help but notice the “enthusiasm” they had in their Gold Cup Parade float... and then we moved back from the cottage to our home next to Queen Charlotte School and early one evening I heard this "pounding" music coming from the school and I thought what the heck is going on there... I soon discovered UFIT had moved in and were running classes out of the school gym... my immediate reaction was to go over and at least have them close the gym door but after a while you soon realize that the music is a bit fun... I now sometimes sit on the deck with my occasional cigar and listen to the music but I haven't had the courage to head over yet... what a great concept and if its helping people get fit and healthier then you're welcome "in" our neighbourhood.... congratulations to you and your UFIT “team”.... and check them out at www.ufit.ca
UFIT owner wins BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Prince Edward Island
Eireann Rigby gives fitness a whole new shape
Oct. 20 /CNW Telbec
People don't need to wear Spandex to fit in at Eireann Rigby's UFIT classes. Eireann, 34, broke the stereotypical fitness club mould when she developed a business from her vision of an all-inclusive, non-judgmental, fun group activity. With thousands of Islanders from all walks of life embracing her pay-as-you-go, $5-a-class concept, Eireann has earned BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for P.E.I., which she will receive tonight at a ceremony in Ottawa.
"When I started UFIT, I chose the name to mean 'you belong' as well as to refer to fitness," Eireann points out. She had played professional basketball in Europe before starting her business seven years ago and had come to realize that people who weren't involved in organized sports had few opportunities to get active in a group setting. "I had a vision of an equal playing field for all, where it doesn't matter where you come from, who you are, what you do. I wanted to create a place where all feel equal and comfortable and non-judged and excited." One of Eireann's goals was to make it easy for people to attend her classes, and that meant making it inexpensive and flexible. That resulted in the $5-a-class fee on a pay-as-you-go basis. "It hasn't changed a bit in seven years," she says. "I have fought hard not to raise the price, even with costs going up."
As the UFIT approach caught on, the business expanded. Eireann now employs eight instructors who provide 20 classes per week in eight locations across the province, with average attendance of 100 people per class in a big street party atmosphere. "We have people of all shapes and sizes from all walks of life, ranging from young children to grandmothers in their 70s."
For Eireann, the success of UFIT is due in large measure to the team of instructors and volunteers she works with, including her husband, Gordon McNeilly, who is both a master trainer and a motivational leader. "Gord and I work together and UFIT wouldn't be what it is without both of us," she says.
Feedback from class participants is what continues to drive Eireann and her team. "Nothing beats the feeling you get when people tell you that you have changed their life."
Beyond the gym
Building on its growing success, the company has branched out into providing motivational seminars that help organizations manage change, under the banner "The Power to Believe," and has produced two fitness videos.
It has also created its own foundation, UFIT CARES, fuelled by the enthusiasm of UFIT participants. "People who had been helped by UFIT wanted to give something back," says Eireann. "We created the UFIT Foundation when we decided to do something at Christmas for needy families. Last year, we gave food, toys and clothing to 125 families."
Five years ago, UFIT put together a team in the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. From a small start, the team grew to well over 100 and went on to win the Society's team spirit award. This year, the Cancer Society developed an award in their name to be presented to the most spirited team.
"Eireann had a vision and, with hard work and conviction, she has turned it into a growing concern. It's more than a successful business; she has also infused it with passion that she is igniting in others," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
"We've realized that UFIT is more powerful than an average aerobics class," says Eireann. "It has been a lifesaver in so many ways for so many people."


Cynthia Dunsford said...


Anonymous said...

Ufit is amazing and so is Eireann!

Dancerboy said...

Come to class Tim! You would be welcomed with open arms as per the mandate of Ufit. Eirann and Gord are examples not only for business, but as citizens.

Unknown said...

You are always welcome at UFIT, I could write a few moves down and bring them over for you to do on your deck with the music if you want:) I was always curious about the people in the neighbourhood with the music, thanks for your patience.
Healthy living is so important, thanks for your words, woo-hoo!

Tina said...

UFIT is amazing!!! And everyone is welcome:):) That's what makes UFIT unique and fun!!!

Rob said...

Even an old fart like me can find a place there Tim thanks for your support Rob

Anonymous said...

UFIT may be welcome in your neighborhood, but apparently its not so welcome in Island schools. The Eastern School Board and their trustees are drafting a new UFIT-specific policy that will seriously restrict their access to school gyms, and significantly increase the rental rate. Supposedly, the trustees have received comment about a provincial facility (school gym)being used for commercial purposes.
However, as a frequent reader of your blog, my first thought was that its the "don't get ahead" gang at play.

Baffled said...

First let me say I attend UFit, think it is a great concept, hats off to Eirran and Gord for all their terrific work. Also congrats on such a successful business which is where I become baffled. Island Taxpayers pay to heat and operate schools in this province and as such I cannot understand why it is our responsiblity to provide a cheap gym for UFit to do business. Why can't UFit pay a fair rent--equivatlent to what they would pay to rent other gym facilities in the area? Afterall, these valuable dollars go back into our schools for much needed programming like the breakfast program, etc. Now I realize this post will set of a flury of backlash but HONESTLY why can't UFit pay a fair rent for use of these facilities?