Dozens of people turned out to consider getting fit and informed at Tribe X Computer Solutions’ grand-opening Friday at Couchiching.
Located in the lower level of the Nanicost building, the fitness centre and Internet cafe offers an interesting mix of working out both the body and mind.
“Wherever I travel, I look for an Internet cafe,” owner Sarah Mainville said of the centre’s unique combination of services.
“But they always serve as something else, like a bar or coffee house,” she continued. “So I figured this could be unique . . . there are other fitness centres in the area but none quite like this.”
The centre is divided into two areas. The Internet cafe is furnished with tables and chairs, and gourmet coffee is always available. The atmosphere is right for chatting with a friend or reading one of the many books on hand.
Three computer terminals provide Internet and word-processing services.
Meanwhile, the fitness area features free weights, treadmills, exercise bikes, and several universal machines. Staff trainer Aimee Adams is always willing to answer any questions, and give fitness advice.
Starting “Tribe X” was the result of a lot of hard work. Mainville had been abroad, working as a consultant for several years after getting her business degree at the University of Lethbridge.
Upon returning to Couchiching last year, she decided to try her hand at starting a business and contacted Aboriginal Business Canada’s youth entrepreneur program through the band.
“The program assists youth-owned businesses with the preparation of business plans, marketing, and financing the start-up of a commercially viable business,” noted ABC development officer Glenn Maskiw, who attended the grand-opening.
After completing training through the program in November, Mainville spent the next five months getting the necessary funding and licences, and making sure the business would conform with regulations.
Her funding came through in the form of a forgivable bank loan, under a youth incentive program, as well as $25,000 from the Rainy River Future Development Corp. here.
The rest came from Mainville’s own savings.
Dean Wilson and John Lyons, two others working under the youth entrepreneur program, also were on hand there Friday. Wilson has started First Nation Insurance while Lyons plans to launch a masonry business.
Meanwhile, now that “Tribe X” is off the ground, Mainville will have to wait and see if it will be a hit. But the business seems to be off to a good start, with 41 people buying memberships since the grand opening.