Picture of a Ben Dunne Gym.
Ben Dunne, one of Ireland's best known entrepreneurs, has pushed the opening of his Portlaoise gym back to the end of summer.
The former supremo of the supermarket chain, Dunnes Stores, confirmed to the Leinster Express in February that he is to open one of his trademark fitness centres at Lismard Business Park, Portlaoise.
At the time, the opening of the new Ben Dunne Gym was set for the end of May. Mr Dunne has exclusively revealed to the Leinster Express that due to setbacks, the gym is now expected to open in September.
“The builder is on site now and we will be opening in the first ten days of September.
“Some layouts and things needed to be sorted out. It is not the first thing to be pushed back a few months,” he said.
Mr Dunne visited the business park in Portlaoise last week and said he is happy with the location of his latest venture.
“When we open we will know if people will go to it or not, you have to worry every time you open something but we feel confident about it,” he said.
The 19,000sq ft unit beside discount store Mr Price will have up to six full time staff as well as a number of part time staff and personal trainers who will work for themselves.
Ben Dunne Gyms have been operating since 1997 when the first centre opened in Blanchardstown.
In February, Mr Dunne spoke about expanding his gym franchise outside of Dublin.
“We are expanding around the country and we didn’t know how well we would do outside of Dublin with the population there.
“We went to Navan first, Waterford, Portlaoise and Limerick. There is a lot of expansion ahead but it is all about getting the space to do it.
“It all depends on where the opportunities are coming up, we are going to take them whenever the developers come and offer us properties at the right prices,” he said.
Mr Dunne said that he has learned with each new gym what people want and he said that they have gotten better and better with every new opening.
“We listen to what people look for and on each occasion we improve.
“We don’t do much therapies or things like that or there is no coffee shop, we stick to the package we have.
“What we find is people want to walk into the gym in their gym gear, do their workout and get straight into their car and go home, and even have their shower at home,” he said.