The FUN chain’s story

Where did it all start? Find out more about the Liikuntakeskus FUN gyms’ beginnings!

Elina Ponto and Fanni Rutanen

Saija Valtanen, Pekka Lahti and Pipsa Lahti

The FUN chain´s story

In Oulu in 2016 successful gym entrepreneurs Elina Ponto and Fanni Rutanen noticed that there was a gap in the market for a certain kind of gym chain in Finland. The chain’s image and brand needed to be both unambiguous and high-quality, with the business itself being agile in its operations and easy and affordable to run for franchisers forming part of the chain. The gyms belonging to the chain would need to be of premium-level quality and offer a corresponding service level, but membership would need to be affordable for users and the exercise offered fun. And so the idea for a mid-priced gym chain was born. A mid-priced gym would be able to offer a better service level and scope than budget gyms, but it would need to maintain a moderate cost structure.

At the same time, successful gym entrepreneurs Pipsa and Pekka Lahti and Saija Valtanen were having the very same thoughts in Tampere. They caught wind of similar plans underway in Oulu, and Pekka stepped up to get in touch with the Oulu-based entrepreneurs he already knew. The entrepreneurs from both cities met up and were amazed at how well their visions aligned; without missing a beat, they decided to start working together.

It quickly became clear that the chain’s overwhelming strength was that its founders were long-term gym entrepreneurs who also had experience of franchising. They had no shortage of practical experience of what works and what doesn’t, as well as research findings on the needs of thousands of different customers and purchasing constraints. They also wanted to ensure this ease and simplicity in operations was carried all the way through to the end user, emphasising not only this but also a focus on the experience, embracing digitalisation, and of course fun at the gyms. One of the objectives of the chain’s founders was to take full advantage of the digital potential they saw around them, harnessing the potential of digital solutions to facilitate better service and make things easier for those running and those using the gyms. This was how the Liikuntakeskus FUN chain came into being, with entrepreneurs who are keen to get stuck in and users who are excited to come and exercise.

The following developed organically as the chain’s values:

  1. We are dedicated to offering the best possible service to our franchisers and our members.
  2. We encourage one another and celebrate successes together, making working and exercising with us fun.
  3. We nurture professional skill and are constantly working to improve our knowledge on all fronts.
  4. Our operations are transparent and honest, meaning that we are reliable.

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