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‘We have been hit the hardest’: Gym owner calls for more support for smaller businesses during pandemic

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 May 2020

Richard Taylor owner of Tiger Fitness in Thetford. Photo: Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor owner of Tiger Fitness in Thetford. Photo: Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor

A gym owner has called for more support for smaller businesses as he says they have been “hit the hardest” amid the coronavirus crisis.

Richard Taylor owner of Tiger Fitness and his members at the Thetford Business Awards in 2019. Photo: Richard TaylorRichard Taylor owner of Tiger Fitness and his members at the Thetford Business Awards in 2019. Photo: Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor, from Tiger Fitness, in Thetford, is one of thousands of gym owners who have been forced to close as lockdown continues.

But in a bid to keep his members engaged and ensure he has a business to return to, Mr Taylor has moved his gym online and has been creating content on his YouTube channel.

Tiger Fitness has been based at the Charles Burrell Centre for two and a half years, providing classes and personal training for its “dedicated members”, who last year nominated Mr Taylor at Thetford’s first ever business awards.

And this year the 29-year-old has once again made it into the top two nominations.

Richard Taylor is a firefighter and owner of Tiger Fitness in Thetford. Photo: Richard TaylorRichard Taylor is a firefighter and owner of Tiger Fitness in Thetford. Photo: Richard Taylor

Now Mr Taylor says it’s more important than ever to recognise the hard work of smaller or independent businesses in the town and to support them during these uncertain times.

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He said: “I have a lot of time for the Thetford Business Awards and it’s great to be nominated for a second year. It would be nice to claim the top spot in the leisure industry category this year.

“For me really, it’s about moving forward, being established, I want to grow and hopefully one day become a franchise.

“But it’s hard to plan for the future right now, so it would be great to see everyone working together to support one another, if you see something on social media give it a share and support local businesses.

“We are the ones who have been hit the hardest, so it’s just about being a little bit more thoughtful.”

As well as running a gym, Mr Taylor also works part-time as a firefighter and a doorman, which he said has enabled him to support himself while his gym is closed.

And although there is no telling when he will be able to re-open, Mr Taylor said he feels hopeful Tiger Fitness will survive the pandemic.

“It all depends on the time, the longer it goes on for the longer we have to pay bills and I would be gutted if I had to close down,” said Mr Taylor.

“But that would be worse case scenario I think we will come out okay. We have a good reputation and a lot of my clients are buzzing to get back to it.”


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