Fitness boss who lost 110 members in lockdown opens new gym

man outside gym

Michael Sommerfield is opening a new gym in Wroxham against all odds. - Credit: Michael Sommerfield

The owner of a Norfolk gym is bucking the trend in Covid but said it's only because of the generosity of his landlord.

Michael Sommerfield, who runs NR12 Fitness, Station Road business park, Horning Road, Wroxham is opening a new 'London-style' gym in bigger premises next door.


NR12 Fitness is expanding next door. - Credit: NR12 Fitness

But the move only went ahead after investment from his landlord, who owns the buildings.

Graham and James Bates, father and son who run Eric Bates & Sons kitchen firm in Wroxham saw how Covid caused membership at the gym to nose-dive. So, they invested in his dream to expand, have helped with the fittings and fixtures and the new gym is all set to open in January.

gym inside

Inside the existing NR12 Fitness gym. - Credit: Archant

Mr Sommerfield has battled against the odds to get his gym up and running. His mum has cancer and he's been spending time visiting her. Before he started up the gym, he was a footballer who landed a contract to play for the Los Angeles Blues soccer team. Before signing, he came home to Wroxham, where he grew up, to sell up. By the time he'd returned to the US, after selling everything he owned, he found the manager had been fired and the contract was no longer valid. He ended up playing for a semi-professional team in San Diego for less than a year before returning to Norfolk. Then, after growing his gym, Covid struck.

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"I'd got 170 members and it was doing fantastically well but during lockdown, it went down to 60. I've now got 100 really loyal customers. I'd put in around £35,000-£40,000 of my own money but I Mr Bates kindly helped me out and invested in the business. We needed more space and so I was able to create a new gym with new equipment next door. It's been so tough and I couldn't have done this without Mr Bates."

James Bates, of Eric Bates, said: "We saw how hard Michael was working and then he lost members because of Covid. We didn't want to lose him as a tenant so we've backed him and also helped with the re-fit of the new gym."

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