Five years in: an open letter to our community

Today marks the 5th Birthday of Hammer Athletic. As most of our members know and definitely my staff and family know how caught up I get with running a business and how I continue to reach different levels of insanity on a daily basis that I often forget to look back on the achievements of this little facility, Hammer Athletic.

We have come such a long way since Kri (my wife) came up with the name ‘Hammer Athletic’ on a ferry on the way home from Magnetic Island in Townsville some 6 years ago. Very clever Kri Ham…Hammer I see what you did there. We had a dream to rid ourselves of the commercial gym atmosphere that was engulfing our industry as we noticed there was becoming less and less focus on the service and more focus on the financial gain of it all. My vision for Hammer Athletic when I first pitched it to Kri was to create a facility that was similar to the professional soccer teams I had been involved with since I was a young man.

Why? I have always had the belief that being involved in a team sport always brought the best out of me physically and mentally. Nothing is better than being involved in an environment where you work incredibly hard together, reap the rewards collectively and most importantly have some bloody good times outside the seriousness of it all. I never forget Kri saying that’s all well and good but how does this pay the bills. My reply was… ahh touché. Luckily for me Kri was the brains behind how to put my dream into a business plan that would make some sort of monetary sense. Granted to the way we set up the business we continue to always stay true to our ethos of keeping the emphasis on quality rather than quantity. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we always hit the mark but it has always been our endeavour to make sure our focus is on the client and their experience instead of the latest trend or modern day business model.

We implemented certain processes in our gym that shit us off about the big conglomerates such as no locked-in contracts, no ridiculous joining fees and relatively flexible pausing conditions. Just come in and train and pay for what you do and if you don’t like it that’s fine we are not for everyone and we are not going to penalise you for it. Along with these little things we were incredibly lucky, and I mean incredibly lucky with the quality of staff we have had during our first five years. I will never hear the end of this from the boys but in all seriousness, we will be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable group of staff members in the private sector. So, a massive thank you to our staff past and present, from Riley and Bel in the early days to the current group Dan, Jamie, Chris, Zach and Alex. Without them honestly this place would cease to exist. I don’t say this publicly often enough but we are very lucky to have all of you. Let’s not forget our creche girls as well, thank you for mainly trying to tame my kids as they are usually the worst behaved.

I’d like to thank our new clients and the old ones who aren’t with us anymore and to the guys who have been with us from the start, without you we wouldn’t exist and we want you to know that we never take your support for granted. We’d also like to thank the Brisbane City Council for their ongoing support over the past five years (Disclaimer: we’re not thankful).

I’d also like to send a massive thank you to our family’s. Holy shit, the help we have had from them since our inception is unwavering. I am not ashamed to say we have been blessed with financial support with countless loans here and there, to manual labour on many, many, many occasions. From my brothers being with me late Sunday nights helping me cut tiles on my 37th restructure of the gym floor, to my sisters helping with the kids when we have done all-nighters, to our fathers driving down to build stuff, fix stuff and our mothers for everything in between. They have all done shifts here unpaid, without complaints and with nothing but love and support for this little business. We love you and thank you with everything we have.

Our friends who have also done shifts in this sweat box, helping with the start-up, to building equipment and helping me move things and organise events, we are lucky humans to have you all in our lives even though sometimes I can be a shit bloke when it comes to getting out of my bubble and reciprocating, I just want you to know it is appreciated and not unnoticed.

Lastly to my ridiculously talented wife. As most people know I am not an easy guy to be around, let alone live with. What she has done for this place is extraordinary. She taught herself how to do websites, our graphics for everything, she runs the back end of the business from the pays to contracts to accounts to attempting to correct my spelling (especially this blog). All this whilst at the same time having three children to look after. She suffered through hyperemesis or severe morning sickness for 9 months for each one of our children and somehow managed to keep our business going. She has been herculean in getting this place up and running, and this is not even going into the fact that I am rarely home to help with the little ones. You are amazing and I never say this, but you are inspirational, and I love you dearly. I know they are too young to read this ( I did expect better I had hope they would be reading at 18months – disappointed haha) but my little babies, thank you for understanding that I am not always there physically but regardless making feel like I am the only person in the world when I am there, I love you all more than life itself.

We’ve achieved some major milestones in five years with an absolute shitload of mistakes but some bloody good times along the way. Bring on the next five years at Hammer Athletic!

By Matt Ham

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