About Us | Gorila Fitness
THE BEST* EQUIPMENT. MADE IN QUEBEC, CANADA
Gorila Fitness was created to provide Canadians with the fitness equipment they deserve. Too many companies with good prices rely on high margins or low-quality products that often don't last longer than a year.
Gorila constantly strives to build the best equipment ever made. *The best product, in our opinion, is functional, durable, locally made and has a limited ecological impact. As of 2021, we are actively making plans for that 4th criteria, we want to use our business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
GOALS FOR THE FUTURE:
- Speed up production time & improve communications.
- Innovate and come up with more options for different budgets and spaces.
- Improve our social and environmental performance.
- More made in Canada products.
The shed where it all began
It all started when my brother Vincent and I (Martin) were still at school, working out 5 days a week but looking to get that 6th time and stretching session in. So in May of 2012, we decided we would build ourselves a home gym in the back shed of our parents. The budget was limited so we started out with the basics: an Olympic barbell and bumper plates. At the time, we paid incredibly expensive customs and freight charges for these purchases. We quickly understood that we certainly couldn't afford to buy a squat rack, which is pretty much the centerpiece of any good home gym.
It was when we thought back to Vincent's welding experience that we realized that it would be much easier and cheaper to build it ourselves.
Our first sales
First, we were looking for steel and a welder. A friend of our father's loaned us some equipment and gave us unused steel. We spent a full evening designing and drawing the perfect rack. Then, using our four hands, we drilled, cut, welded and painted 2” square steel tubings and it became an early version of what is known today as the Jungle 72 squat rack (the J72). At that time, we had little to no expertise in the field so we decided to buy the hooks (Jcup) from a competitor. What I remember is that nothing worked as expected since the dimension of the holes and hooks were incompatible, but we made it work. A couple of weeks into what we thought would be a fun DIY project, and after a couple of in-house training sessions with our new toys, we received our very first request, a friend of ours wanted a squat rack with a pull-up bar. Everything was done by hand, including the J-hooks.
Then it was to the owners of "La Shop CrossFit training center" that wanted to order a sled. We've built them a welded version of Today's bolt together Gator sled. CrossFit was a small community back then and training center owners saw each other frequently at local events so it wasn't very long before Gorila gained notoriety. A few days after ordering the sled, the owners at CrossFit Beast contacted us to order what would be the first-ever Gorila rig, and from there the demand just never stopped growing.
Our first workshop (The Shed)
It was this last sale that confirmed that there was indeed a very strong demand for training equipment in Quebec and Canada. We each, my brother and I, invested $ 1,000 of our own money to buy a small welder, a drill press and a paint gun. Our goal was to convert the "home gym shed" into a workshop. The greenhouse at the back became our paint room, which could easily reach 45-50 degrees Celsius in the middle of July. At this point, I was out of school so I spent my summer punching thousands of holes by hand while Vincent took care of soldering everything. Then we shared the unbearable task of entering the paint room with the mask, the glasses and the combination, probably losing a pound or two of sweat on every order.
“Teamwork makes the dream work”
In the fall of 2012, a second friend of our father's made us an offer we couldn't refuse. He offered to become our business partner, and in exchange, we could use his 5,000 square foot warehouse as well as all of his professional tools. This partnership has allowed us to focus on growing the project into a business as well as improving our selection of products and designs. Vincent was in charge of the manufacturing side while for my part I was in charge of the marketing, the website as well as the administration.
In 2014, we had to change partners, moved from Boucherville to Chambly and thus, subcontracted almost all of the manufacturing as we no longer had the necessary equipment. A few months later, we purchased the missing tools so Vincent could start production in-house again. We operated like this until he was completely exhausted and came to the conclusion that we needed backup!
In 2016, we hired our first employee Sébastien and a year later, we hired Simon, our chief welder. Both are still with us to Today.
In 2021, despite the global pandemic having struck everyone from near or far, Gorila stood out. Due to a demand for home gyms that exploded, our shop in Chambly could no longer meet our needs in terms of space and accommodation. This prompted us to acquire our very first 25 000 sq. ft. facility in Saint-Pie, QC, which is the equivalent of five times the space we had back in Chambly.
Gorila's headquarters in Saint-Pie, Quebec, Canada.
Today, from the top of our small team of nine, we are proud to say that the majority of our products are still made here by hand and that we are actively seeking solutions to bring manufacturing of some of our best sellers in Canada. Our team also goes to great lengths to reduce its ecological footprint. With our expertise and quality, these are certainly the factors that set us apart from our competitors.
Why the name Gorila?
We were originally called GORIL, (which is kind of a Quebecer's funny way to say "Gorille" in french) one of the strongest animals in the jungle. We didn't really intend to make it a brand at first, we simply wanted a cool name for our Squat Rack. Martin had a strong appeal for marketing as well as logo design, so he took this project very seriously. This is how the Gorila Fitness brand name came to life. There was already a lot of "Gorilla something" in the world back then and 2 "L" didn't fit with the typography we picked anyway, so we decided to go for Gorila with one "L". It was, in Martin's opinion, a little more brandable and he loved how short and punctuated it was. We chose a very unique typography and the logo prior to 2014 was a simple "G". It took 1 or 2 years to come up with the gorilla head logo.