In a time when the doors of aspiring fitness gyms open and close regularly, Natural Fitness has proven the test of time and success. Joe de Silva, owner of Natural Fitness, has worked with CEI’s business counselors and lending department for over a decade, to develop, establish, and grow his business. “I would not be here today if CEI hadn’t helped me out,” said de Silva.
After working for 3 years as an independent contractor at a local gym, Joe de Silva decided that it was time to go on his own. He first came to CEI as the sole owner of Natural Fitness, needing startup money.
“I tried every bank to get a loan. You can only get rejected so many times. Nobody would lend to me. CEI took a chance on a 27 year-old when no one else would.”— Joe de Silva, owner
A CEI business advisor helped de Silva develop a business plan and counseled him through establishing a budget and projections. “CEI taught me how to think about how to run a business.” Next, he worked closely with loan officer Mark Jennings.
“CEI looks at the person, not just the bank statements. Mark believed in what I’m doing. CEI backed me up,” said Joe.
Natural Fitness serves as a private training gym which offers gym membership to existing clients. “We create an environment for the body to heal itself,” says de Silva, when describing the training he provides. Whether working with individuals who are recovering post-rehab, the elderly who want to strengthen and improve their wellness, or people with specific medical concerns, one-on-one or small group training takes a proactive approach to health, versus a reactive approach. Each client receives a personalized assessment and program designed specifically for his or her needs.
Years later, when de Silva’s clientele was growing and the business was expanding, he decided to relocate to Natural Fitness’s current location on Presumpscot St. The move posed some financial challenges, but CEI was able to support the expansion of de Silva’s business by refinancing in the midst of transitions. “They made it easy for me to get what I needed.” Today, de Silva continues to serve the greater Portland area through training, building relationships with his clients, and educating others about wellness.