Town & Country

March 2019

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2 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY MARCH 16, 2019 W I N K L E R 12118 Road 23 West, Winkler, MB (204) 331-1234 12118 Road 23 West, Winkler, MB (204) 331-1234 204-325-8941 #coopheritage Winkler-Morden-Plum Coulee-Rosetown STRONGER TOGETHER Honourees are: Business Excellence: Elias Woodwork Business Builder: Rise Athletics and Wellness Community Builder: Triple E RV Customer Service: Solutions IT Not-for-Profit: Winkler & District Health Care Board K urtis Fox is an entrepreneur who's going places. But the owner of Rise Athletics and Wellness recently took time to reflect on where he's been. Learning that his compa- ny is a 2019 P.W. Enns Business Award recipient in the Business Builder category prompted Fox to take stock. The award from the Winkler Chamber of Commerce goes to a company that dem- onstrates "continual positive growth," with a commitment to quality and customer ser- vice, and Fox says it's a much appreciated reminder of how far Rise has progressed. "We've expanded twice and we've re- branded the entire company and grown our team and client base," he says. "It was cool to look back and look where we came from." Rise Athletics and Wellness isn't your typical gym. In fact, Fox calls it the "un- gym." Clients don't just pop in to use ex- ercise equipment. They are coached, indi- vidually or in groups, to ensure they rise to their potential. "The first tangible piece that people think about is physical — gaining muscle and losing fat — but realistically it's the mental benefits and the confidence-boost- ing and those types of things, the entire wellness aspect of it that really drives us," he says. Growing up in Altona, Fox started his own fitness journey in high school. He'd set his sights on becoming a firefighter and he knew fitness testing was a requirement at Manitoba Emergency Services College. He had coaches to help him meet his goal, and he began coaching others during his seven years as a firefighter in Winnipeg, helping friends and acquaintances get comfortable in a gym. "I was doing that on the side and one day it just hit me. I love this. I love get- ting people involved in fitness and helping them, seeing them use fitness as a tool to reach their potential," he says. He had a bit of a false start when he opened a traditional gym in Winkler in 2012. But it wasn't long before he changed it up and opened a small train- ing studio instead. "It kind of hit me, it's the interaction with people — the coaching — that's what I love, and working with people individu- ally and as a small group," he says. "I reflected on the people I had been helping while I was a firefighter and I thought, 'Well, they were looking for help but they were still incredibly un- comfortable walking into a big-box gym or any type of facility like that.' So that's where I thought we need to address that component of it. People want to feel comfortable, essentially." When Fox was getting his business off the ground, he took advantage of resources offered by Futurpreneur, a national non- profit organization that provides mentoring and other supports to young business own- ers. For the past year, he's been serving as a mentor for other startups, and he's the only Manitoban on a 35-member Canadian delegation that will travel to Japan in May ahead of the G20 Summit. The G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance advocates on behalf of young entrepreneurs around the world, issuing a communiqué to encourage G20 governments to address innovation, educa- tion and other factors in their success. Innovation and education are also keys to success at Rise Athletics and Wellness. "Education for us is a big component as coaches. As different members of our team get certified in different areas, we've start- ed to develop more specific niches within what we do. That's probably the big thing for us moving forward just as we carve out different areas," Fox says. One example of that is functional move- ment screening to address things like re- petitive-use injuries, chronic back pain or knee pain. On a more general level, the coaching team caters to a variety of skill levels and abilities, with programs for all ages, from kids and adults who want to improve their balance and agility through sports perfor- mance coaching to older adults who partici- pate in lower-impact active living programs. "It's all personal training and different types of group training for any demo- graphic," Fox says. "It's safe, it's supportive and you're sur- rounded by like-minded individuals who are pursuing their individual goals, and we find that whole process … is what creates the un-gym environment for people." Rise Athletics and Wellness isn't your typical gym. In fact, Fox calls it the "un-gym." Photos by Darcy Finley The P.W. Enns Business Awards Gala is set for April 4, at Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church, with special guest Terry O'Reilly, host of CBC Radio show Under the Influence. RISING TO THE OCCASION Award is a sign of progress for this fitness business BY PAT ST. GERMAIN

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