THE opening of any new business in these times is a cause for excitement and that's certainly the mood at the new Listowel Fitness Studio - in the building that was formerly Morkan's Tile Centre.
Established by couple Pavel Karakehayov and wife Olga Karakehayova, it is hoped the gym will become the centre of even more fat- busting and muscle-toning activity in town.
A native of Bulgaria, Pavel is steeped in fitness experience having worked at it for over twenty years - at home in Bulgaria and here in Listowel since 2007. So has his wife Olga, a native of Belarus, and between them they aim to offer clients the benefit of every last bit of their experience.
"It's very important to show customers how to use the machines and to give them guidance at all times, to show them how to exercise and how to target special muscle groups," Pavel explained.
"There's no point just pointing them towards the machines and letting them do it on their own. Bad habits can form that way through people not doing the exercises properly and that is something we will be very much concentrating on."
Pavel and Olga love Listowel, especially the people of the town in which they have lived for years. "That's why I included the name of the town in the gym, as a mark of respect to the people who have been so welcoming to us.
"The only bad thing about Ireland is the weather!" he said.
His experience of setting up the gym still shows how restrictive it can be for new small businesses. The sector might represent the best hope for recovery, but from Pavel's experience the State just isn't interested.
"You're on your own here, there's no help and very large costs from rates to insurance and taxes. It would be much easier to start a gym in Bulgaria, where you would also get grant aid from the State."
They've crossed the first hurdle now and are set to offer people spinning classes on the latest machines, Capoeria, Irish dancing even and much more!