THE PINEAPPLE Express boys have jumped on the fast track, opening a gym in Fortitude Valley and ramping up with a Dubai expansion.

Young entrepreneurs behind superfood café Pineapple Express and marketing agency Department Group, Jonathan Ford and Tom Sweep (pictured L-R), are rolling out a new fitness concept called Facilities.

Fitout will start on Friday at the first Ann Street site, which will launch as a class-only business hosting around 12 classes a day covering yoga, boxing, HIIT, TRX and Pilates.

Ford says Facilities will target 'affluent high-catchment markets' with membership set to cost around $50 to $60.

The Brisbane entrepreneurs identified a growing segment of young professionals seeking personalised fitness and measured outcomes without engaging a personal trainer.

"Facilities is capped at about 200 to 300 members and the members will pay around the same price as an entry-level personal training session with access to unlimited classes for the week," says Ford.

"There's heaps of personal trainers and fitness classes around but we had a genuine discount with the current offering, finding that no one was doing a real whole-hearted approach to fitness, combining all different regimes, truly catering to the individual and integrating tech.

"It's programmed into 16-week blocks and every member is strapped with a MyZone recorder so they can track heart rate, calories, exertion level and more, and are emailed with their performance stats and progression."

Being marketers at heart, the Facilities team couldn't resist the branding opportunity and will also soon launch a Facilities activewear range.

It's this spark that has bolstered Ford and Sweep as of late and caught the eye of Unita Group's Rob Rowe.

Rowe, a Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year, recently acquired Department Group for an undisclosed amount.

The marketing agency seemingly completes the suite of Unita Group businesses, increasing Rowe's capabilities across social media, branding, site activation and launch and ongoing marketing management.

Rowe's biggest business, Tu Projects, turns over around $50 million per year on shopfitting alone and will be taking care of the Facilities fitout.

Sweep and Ford will soon move into Rowe's new 972sqm Woolloongabba premises and work alongside Tu Projects, Focused Floor Coverings, Round Peg Design, Equipment One, Rowe Shopfitters, ShopSteel, Art Joinery and Tu Track.

"It's more of a collaboration with great synergies where we can bring a lot of strong clients to Rob and market his companies as well," says Ford.

"Rob wants to go big internationally very quickly and I think it will be good having all of us work together on different projects."

Another two Brisbane Pineapple Express cafes are in the pipeline, the team wanting to launch Brisbane CBD and South Bank by the end of the year.

The biggest ticket, however, is introducing Pineapple Express to Dubai.

This is well in the works with a Pineapple Express representative already stationed in Dubai, but Ford says the different pace has set them back.

Rent is expensive too, he says, ranging $2000 to $4000 per sqm for a good site compared to about $700 to $1500 per sqm in Brisbane, or $2000-plus for a blue-chip location like James Street.

"The market over there is just screaming out for what we've got," says Ford.

"Once we get off the ground, we will just keep replicating the model - there are a few Aussies there already who are smashing it in hospitality."

Jonathan Ford was crowned a Brisbane Young Entrepreneur by Business News Australia.

Want to be like Jonathan? Enter the 2016 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards.


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