Jun 18, 2020

Doing it differently, from the start: Altea Active

Reflecting its inclusive and diverse community, Altea Active responds to the times and focuses on the long game.

When it comes to fitness, there are many different options available to today’s consumer. Everything from national (or international) chain gyms, small boutique gyms, and specialty studios in between.

Then there’s Altea Active.

Inclusive from the start

“We didn’t tell people what it was or who the performers were, but we went out and hired three local drag queens to come in and teach and dance alongside our Zumba instructor team for our very first class,” says Mike Nolan, Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer.

This may have been a surprise to anyone who registered for a Zumba class at the new gym in town, but it made perfect sense to Mike and his partners. The Bridgwater neighbourhood in Winnipeg represents a wide variety of Canadians from different walks of life.

Just as the company made physical room in the facility for all kinds of classes and offerings, the guiding code at Altea Active is for each and every person to feel welcomed too. 

“We want to reflect our community in our advertising,” Mike explains. “We took into consideration the demographics of our neighbourhood, including race and sexual orientation.”

The event was a hit and gave residents of Bridgwater a proper introduction to the newest fitness facility available in the area.

“A lot of companies pay lip service to diversity, but their marketing is a bit fearful of reflecting that, especially in the fitness industry,” says Mike. “From day one, we wanted to celebrate and embrace diversity, right from the first event to kick off our programming. We didn’t need to wait for a day or week of recognition.”

All about safety, especially in uncertain times

Altea Active opened in late 2019, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced several businesses to close their doors to clients - including Altea. 

However, the leadership group at Altea had experience weathering similar storms; many of the partners and investors at Altea Active owned fitness facilities in Ontario during the spread of SARS, H1N1, and the economic downturns of 2008 and 2015. 

This gave the team the ability to predict the steps that may be necessary in the immediate future to keep the gym operational and safe for both clients and staff at each stage of the pandemic. A COVID response team was established, with representation from members from all major components of the gym’s operating staff. 

The team’s decisions included pivoting classes to stream free online for members, ensuring that the facilities were thoroughly disinfected with the safest and most effective products available, and working to maintain major assets such as the gym’s utilities and pool chemicals.

“We deal with high volumes of clientele, so we were very focused on the protective measures and the disinfection processes,” says Shawn Brown, Director of Operations/Partner.

With economies beginning to reopen to certain businesses and services, Altea Active will continue to focus on their most important asset: their people.

“It was not a cake walk for any company out there, big or small” says Shawn. “But our message was always ‘Stay calm, we’re going to focus on the long game.’”