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South Kent Barbell Celebrates One Year Strong

Ridgetown's own South Kent Barbell is celebrating their one year anniversary and thanking customers for an outstanding year that has seen their business grow from a dream, to a plan, to doors opening. As a graduate of the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre’s Starter Company program, South Kent Barbell received a combination of business training, one-on-one consultation and mentorship, and also a $5000 business grant to help them grow.

“I started lifting weights when I was 14 years old and just fell in love with it,” said Derrick Van Every, owner of South Kent Barbell. That early introduction led to an interest and an education in how the body functions. “I did a four-year undergraduate program at the University of Windsor. I graduated with a degree in kinesiology, majored in movement science and did a minor in psychology.”

Derrick added that he has always tried to help people improve their daily lives. “Obesity, heart disease, stroke and other negative health effects can be fought or avoided with exercise and diet. I needed a platform to spread that message across to people!”

While at university, as he helped others with their personal training, the idea of owning a business started to grow and in the summer of 2017 the stars aligned for Derrick. A vintage storefront on the Ridgetown main street, his hometown, became available. “I thought there’s an opportunity here,” he says. “Our town has over 3,000 people in it. We should be able to support a gym. I decided I wanted to try it, I had a lot of support, and now seemed like the perfect time.

With a combination of long hours and some elbow grease, Derrick along with his friends and family, scrubbed, painted, and renovated the storefront so they could open the doors. In addition to the work put into the look and setup of his business, Derrick also stepped up and invested time into the muscle behind every successful business; his business plan.

“In order to get the grant, we had to create a small business plan. We had our mission statement, our cash flow forecast, and how we planned things would work out. It was definitely a great experience to go through that, for sure” said Derrick. “I currently have more monthly members than I anticipated in my business plan. I am really happy with that. I just thank everybody who has helped me out. As the gym has grown, so has the quality of the equipment and the services provided. I am really happy to continue that growth and thank everyone for the chance!”

“Derrick is a high-energy, passionate, and driven entrepreneur,” said Rosemarie Montgomery, Business Consultant for the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre. “When he came in with his idea and vision for his business, I would find myself getting caught up in the excitement of what he was doing. It is wonderful that he has had such a successful first year and I am sure that he will have many more fantastic years to come.”

South Kent Barbell offers a wide selection of competition-quality equipment available 24 hours a day via personal key fob access. South Kent Barbell also provides a variety of services including general membership training, one-on-one personal training, and group training. For more information, please visit their Facebook page at or stop by their location at 60 Main Street East in Ridgetown. 


Derrick Van Every, owner of South Kent Barbell

Derrick Van Every, owner of South Kent Barbell.

Some equipment at South Kent Barbell
Some equipment at South Kent Barbell.

Additional Details:

Media Contact:

Andrew Tompsett
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039
Fax: 519-436-3237