Primed for Success

After passing yet another highway exit en route to his gym, Dave Prime thought about distance.

He knew where he was heading that day. His mind lingered on the gap between that destination and where he really wanted to be.

Over the years, Dave has developed a passion for strength training, building muscle mass and endurance with intense workouts like powerlifting or tire flipping. The journey to improve his well-being was something he would never give up on. Yet, searching for a gym best suited to his training style led him on a routine and ultimately tiring commute from his home in Dartmouth. He was restless. Surely there was a way to close the gap.  

Dave and Erin Prime, Owners of Prime Strength GymThat was 2019. By early 2020, Dave, his wife Erin and their dedicated volunteers were assembling equipment at what would become Prime Strength Club on Portland Street. He had spent years working in management always knowing he wanted to use his business experience to go out on his own, but hadn’t found the spark sought by so many aspiring entrepreneurs.  It finally came that day in the car — he could combine his passion and his background to open a gym close to home.   

CUA’s personalized approach and focus on the small business community struck him right away. After reaching out to discuss financing options, CUA’s Small Business Advisor Matt McQuade met Dave at a coffee shop for an introduction. “He was my kind of guy,” Dave said, noting he expected to be invited into an office environment like he had with other banks.  “Dave instantly stood out,” added Matt. “He presented clear idea of what he wanted to do and a great plan to achieve it.” After some back and forth to settle on the right financing arrangements, Dave received a yes and was on his way to being an entrepreneur.  

Prime Strength Club was expected to open in April when COVID-19 shutdowns began in March. “Ok, I guess there is no rush,” he thought. “We were busting our behinds trying to get stuff ready to go, and then it seemed like the next day everything was starting to close.” Despite the abrupt closures and having to send their volunteers home, he and Erin continued working to prepare the gym for an eventual opening. CUA connected with Dave to discuss next steps and provided access to financing programs that would help the Club stay on the path to welcoming its first members when restrictions lifted.    
Planning how to keep everyone safe in the gym became a key focus. Members would be required to book appointments online with only so many permitted inside at one time. Cleaning and sanitizing protocols were stepped up and clear instructions would be provided to members on cleaning equipment after each use. DavePrime, Prime Strength Gym and Matthew McQuade, CUAConveniently, the gym’s equipment setup would lend itself to physical distancing — long barbell platforms easily provided more than the standard six feet of distancing recommended between individuals. Members and staff wear masks entering the facility and remove them when on the gym floor.

When restrictions began to be lifted and an opening date was announced, Dave spent the next few days happily processing memberships knowing he had found the untapped market he knew existed. While the pandemic has impacted countless businesses in different ways, it left Prime Strength Club in a unique position where Dave didn’t sweat over adapting his operations or his customers to changes brought by the pandemic. “We could start fresh,” he said, indicating the delay allowed he and Erin to take stock of the situation and plan a soft opening where a limited number of members could access the Club and test the equipment, environment and new safety protocols. “No business plan accounts for a pandemic, yet it enabled us to make a few key changes early on that worked out in our favour.”

Dave began training as a personal journey to improve his mental and physical well-being, wanting to inspire others to achieve similar goals. Today, despite all the changes brought by COVID-19, Prime Strength Club is building a community of enthusiasts from beginners to seasoned lifters.

CUA can help you start, grow or adapt your business in any environment. Learn more about our flexible commercial banking services, including account and financing options, to meet your unique needs and circumstances.

Learn more about CUA's commercial services, including account and financing options for your business needs.

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