Bendigo women's gym celebrates 25 years

JOY: Danielle Cook, Jayne Demeo, Ben Cook, Jess Pethybridge and Angela Venezia at Fernwood Bendigo.

JOY: Danielle Cook, Jayne Demeo, Ben Cook, Jess Pethybridge and Angela Venezia at Fernwood Bendigo.

FERNWOOD Bendigo will celebrate the company's 25th birthday today.

Though the women-only gym prides itself on a healthy lifestyle, the store will celebrate with a big cake.

Fernwood founder Diana Williams will celebrate with staff by eating cake all week.

Ms Williams said when she first started the business, there was no intention of it being a national company.

She started the gym in Bendigo when she noticed a need for a women-only gym.

It first opened in Vine Street and then six months later moved to a larger building in Bath Lane. 

Ms Williams was a stay-at-home mum, busy with caring for her children at the time of its inception.

"I was really interested in the idea of weight training for women but I found that there were no facilities for them to do it," she said.

Ms Williams said after three years the business started to look at expanding.

Fernwood now has more than 70 fitness clubs and is in every state of Australia.

Ms Williams said the business had changed greatly over the years.

"The culture of what we had and what we have today have come about because of the women and the staff involved," she said.

She said the most important things about the business remained. 

"We offer fruit and breakfast, we also have oil burners going," she said.

"It is just the little things that women appreciate."

Ms Williams said the environment the staff created in each gym made it easy to want to exercise.

She said there were members who signed up on the first day of business and continued to attend on a regular basis.

She said the franchise would look toward the future with a new focus on linking with new technologies.

"We pride ourselves on being industry leaders," she said.

"And now, we are embarking on a new program of having online memberships including an app for phones and tablets."

She said the new app would allow members to share their fitness goals and success stories with other members.

The app would provide access to new information.

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