Somerset-based entrepreneur secures £200,000 funding deal to expand chain of gyms

Photograph: (Left to Right) David Owen and Craig Stephens

A driven entrepreneur from Somerset has trebled the size of his expanding chain of gyms across the South West of England after securing a £200,000 funding solution to grow his Trident Fitness equipment brand and support the launch of his new gym in Yeovil.

Craig Stephens will be utilising the working facility provided by alternative finance lender Reward Finance Group to complete the equipment fit-out at his third gym in Yeovil, help expand his membership from 1,300 to 1,500 and drive increased revenue from sales of his Trident branded gym equipment.

The entrepreneur opened his first gym in Bridgewater in 2019 and doubled its size during the pandemic by acquiring an adjacent unit. Building on the success of the 24-hour boxing themed Bridgewater venue, Craig launched a second gym earlier this year in Weston-super-Mare, taking over a unit that was previously a Mothercare store. He currently employs ten people across his two gyms and is eyeing expansion with the gym in Yeovil.

Trident Gyms has worked with the same landlord across all its venues portfolio and will continue to do so for the new site in Yeovil. This successful relationship has meant that the landlord will be refurbishing the existing unit so it is bespoke to Trident’s need.

Craig operates a strong portfolio of successful businesses, initially starting out as a builder and now current director at C S Construction, before acquiring the Trident Fitness (SW) Ltd brand in 2019. The remaining working facility provided by Reward will be used to secure a plot of land behind Craig’s home in Glastonbury with the long-term aim of transforming into a glamping and camping site. He turned to the SW-based lender as it provides property investors and SMEs with tailored business finance loans and asset-based solutions of up to £5m.

Craig Stephens, property entrepreneur and owner of Trident Fitness (SW) Ltd, said: “To treble the size of the Trident chain by opening our third gym in less than five years is a fantastic achievement and down to our vision for the business and the hard work of the talented team we have in place.

“We turned to Reward as we needed a no-nonsense lender that was able to provide an agile funding solution that could drive growth within Trident but also be utilised across different areas of the businesses that I own. It has provided me with the vital working capital needed to fit out the Yeovil gym with state-of-the-art equipment and open within a short timeframe rather than delay and incur further costs.

“It has provided us with a catalyst for growth and have one eye on future expansion, with plans already in motion to open a fourth gym.”

David Owen, Reward’s Business Development Director for Wales and the South West, added: “Craig is obviously a very successful and respected entrepreneur in the region and has a proven track record of opening and running gyms. When he approached us, we knew that he required funding at pace to both ensure the opening in Yeovil was not delayed and to further accelerate the sales growth of Trident’s brand of equipment.

“It’s been a pleasure to work closely with Craig and get under the skin of Trident and his other business interests to deliver a working capital facility that provides the springboard for further expansion and long-term success.”

The deal between Trident Fitness and Reward Finance Group was brokered by Tom Lester at Lester & Co Mortgages Limited.