Gym+Coffee, founded by three Cork men, is set for expansion in 2023

What began as a side hustle by three Corkonians has grown into a hugely successful company. TARA MAHER catches up with CEO of Gym+Coffee - proud Cork man, Niall Horgan - to find out what lies ahead for the brand in 2023
Gym+Coffee, founded by three Cork men, is set for expansion in 2023

Niall Horgan, CEO of Gym+Coffee.

IT’S been another whirlwind year for Gym+Coffee - an athleisure brand that was founded by three proud Corkonians.

Back in 2017, Niall Horgan, Karl Swaine and Diarmuid McSweeney, who were living in California and Sydney at the time, started the brand as a bit of a side hustle - but it has since grown into a very profitable business.

Gym+Coffee was born when its founders began to notice a shift in people’s lifestyles.

While living abroad, they noticed more people were beginning to use exercise as a way of socialising. Seeing this new lifestyle trend abroad, they knew it was something that would soon hit Irish shores.

The trio wanted to create some sort of a ‘uniform’ for those following this trend, which led them to their first business idea and product, a hoodie, something that could be worn while going for a walk, going to the gym, or going for a coffee.

Following huge success in its first year, the lads gave up their day jobs to focus entirely on promoting Gym+Coffee.

Over the past five years, the company has gone from strength to strength, originally selling online. The brand found a location in Dublin to see if people had an interest in its activewear and hosted a two-week pop-up shop.

After the success of that, Gym+Coffee opened up a number of stores, or ‘clubhouses’, which cater for men, women, children, and even pets. It now employs 170 hard-working and passionate people across 12 clubhouses and in offices across Ireland and the UK.

Gym+Coffee are not stopping there and have big ambitions for 2023. They are looking to expand and break into international markets.

They are currently planning on opening clubhouses in Germany and are keeping a close eye on how and when to break into the US.

On the top of their to-do list for the coming year is to set up another clubhouse on Leeside. There is already one in Mahon Point Shopping Centre but Niall, Gym+Coffee CEO, revealed that they would love to open a new location in the city centre.

The gym and Gym+Coffee brand.
The gym and Gym+Coffee brand.

Every day is a learning day for Niall and the Gym+Coffee team, as they are continuously trying to make their business the best it can be.

Building a business from scratch proved a challenge, however, their determination and passion to build a brand focused around wellness ensured their once side hustle is now a huge success.

“We want to put the community first,” stated Niall.

Wellbeing is central to the business and to thank the community for their support, Gym+Coffee hosts frequent wellness events in its clubhouses and the outdoors, including fitness classes, hikes and podcasts.

In January, to celebrate their birthday, Gym+Coffee held an event at the side of Sugarloaf Mountain in Co. Wicklow which encouraged people to climb the mountain. More than 2,500 people attended the event.

In addition, they are the main partners of WellFest, a two-day fitness and wellbeing festival held in Dublin every year.

“We want to be a brand that practises what we preach, we want to encourage people to go and get fit while also making friends,” says Niall.

Sustainability has also become one of Gym+Coffee’s core values. At the moment, they are a carbon neutral company, all of their clothing is made out of sustainable materials, all of their bags are compostable and they are working towards becoming a B-Corp Certified business.

By achieving this certification, Gym+Coffee has voluntarily committed to the highest standards of verified performance, transparency and social sustainability. It is hoped they will receive this certification next year and they will be only the fifth Irish business to achieve this award.

Gym+Coffee is a proud Cork and Irish business and has been backed by everyone from your everyday runner to international rugby stars.

Former rugby player Brian O’Driscoll and singer Niall Horan have backed the brand and joined the Gym+Coffee team as investors and advisors to help them with their expansion.

Other athletes such as boxer Kellie Harrington, gymnast Rhys McCleneghan and Cork’s very own Denise O’Sullivan are also among the high profile brand ambassadors.

Coming home to Cork is always an exciting time for Niall, who now lives in Dublin.

Walking down Patrick Street and seeing people wear Gym+Coffee clothing is a feeling he will never get sick of, and he expresses his gratitude to the people of Cork for embracing his brand and for their continued support over the last five and half years.

On the first Sunday of each month, Gym+Coffee holds a free yoga class in its Mahon Point clubhouse. For more information on this and to shop for Gym+Coffee products, call into its Mahon Point clubhouse or go online to gympluscoffee.com

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