Promoting health, fitness and wellness has been a shared passion for Lisa Maria-Booth and Danielle Perreault for more than 29 years. As personal trainers, they amassed such a following, they decided to open Fortitude Health and Training in Manchester in 2012.
The two have steadily grown that business and two others, generating enough revenue to break onto this year’s list of the Top Women-Led Businesses. “Some people generally have to get up and go to work every day and I get to get up and go to fun every day,” says Maria-Booth, CEO. “When you are inspiring people, it inspires you as well.”
Their 13,000-square-foot facility features amenities that keep clients coming back, including free parking, basketball court, child care, locker rooms and strength training. Maria-Booth and Perreault also started two other businesses within the facility that tap into clients’ lifestyles: Fort Cycle, offering indoor cycle classes, and Green Bike Smoothie Bar, offering organic smoothies and acai bowls. “The businesses feed one another like a big, happy marriage,” Maria-Booth says. “People will come for a cycle ride and then enjoy a smoothie or check out the gym.”
With 12 full-time employees and about 25 part-time staff, the company provides health, fitness and wellness services on site or elsewhere. “We go beyond our brick walls here at the Millyard,” Maria-Booth says.
She and Perreault provide fitness services onsite at many NH companies, including Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Associated Grocers of NH, Southern NH University and Timberland. Maria-Booth says they recently conducted 12 fitness classes per week for Oracle + Dyn employees and she also gave a nutrition lecture at the Nixon Peabody law firm.
“Whatever works for the company, we’re happy to design a program for them,” she says.
In 2020, the duo plans to grow further with a new MoveSafe program designed to help people of all ages develop fitness programs that avoid injury and physical stress. Maria-Booth says the program could help a variety of clients, including runners with knee issues, high school athletes or the elderly.
She says it’s a “great way” for people to get an initial assessment before they embark on an exercise program. Such approaches to fitness programs set Fortitude apart from the chain gyms. “Every time you come to our facility you have a coach,” Maria-Booth says. “They are there to guide you through your workout to make sure you do everything properly and that you enjoy it.”