It was the end of summer early 1999 that the concept of Empire was born. Ari Hamalainen, the founder had been working at a little gym right on the beach, down the coast. It was a small, friendly and really busy gym, the members were awesome people and it had an amazing family feel. That’s when Ari made the decision to own his own gym, one with the same culture and feel. That’s when the Empire concept was born.
That year Air was lucky enough to meet a guy that made gym equipment and struck a deal to get 1 free piece of gym equipment for every 3 he sold. So I went out and started to sell equipment like crazy. It wasn’t long before his garage was filled with equipment and then he filled 3 of his friend’s garages too!
Next was to find a premises, after looking at a few places Ari was surprising shot down in flames, in his words “big time”, turning his dream into realisty felt much further away then what he had expected.
Driving home that day Ari stopped at one last place, the owner of the premise was there and he had just rented it out, Ari thought maybe this wasn’t meant to be. He asked if Air was serious, if so he would not only build a factory the size he needed but also add extras on, so Ari could expand in the future. The deal was done that day on a hand shake, lucky as at the time I had zero cashflow.
In May 2000 Empire Fitness Centre was born! At the time there was less than 10 gyms on the Gold Coast, now there’s at least 150, crazy to think about now.
Over the years Ari would reinvest the money into the fitness centre and has expanded 5 times since with the last expansion and renovation in 2018 spending $1.5 million.
Empire has everything you need to create the body you want from a massive selection of weight machines and cardio, to fun spin classes, les mills, group training and group fitness, to boxing and cross fit and much more. We also have amazing members, staff and instructors to make you feel welcome and a part of the Empire family.
If you get a chance, come in and have a look around and check out some Gold Coast history, 20 years in the making.