When Philippa Pepera (above) launched her business, Pippa’s Health Centre in 1996, there were only a handful of gyms in Accra and bankers did not believe such projects had a future. But the young mother of four, a health studies graduate from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and a former fitness instructor on campus, had a vision. And 23 years later, her company has become one of Ghana’s leading fitness centre and fitness equipment suppliers.
Pippa’s gym, as it is affectionately called, was purpose-built and began as a one woman operation. She designed the gym, controlling every aspect, from the quality of the equipment and the customer service to its decoration. “I remember being the front receptionist, personal trainer, accountant and cleaner until the patrons started coming through the door,” recalls Ms Pepera.
The centre offers a wide range of fitness classes, with a team of 6 personal trainers. It boasts the only Royal Academy of Dance school in West Africa, with over 150 students. It also runs a Taekwondo Academy with more than 40 students and has produced many black belts over the years.
Pippa’s Health Centre further developed its business when it became the distributor in Ghana for the world’s leading manufacturers of fitness equipment, Life Fitness and Cybex. The company also represents luxury UK garden furniture supplier Alexander Rose Ltd as well as Pavigym, the Spanish supplier of flooring solutions for gyms and Escape Fitness Accessories, the UK supplier of gym equipment, flooring and design.
Pippa’s services extend from the design to the setting up and servicing of the equipment sold. Over the last 12 months, Pippa’s Health Centre has installed solar panels and become self-sufficient in electricity and water. “This has been a major game-changer for us,” says Ms Pepera, as power cuts had been the biggest challenge of the past few years.
As the company continues to grow, future projects include a retreat centre for healing and meditation outside Accra, Ghana’s busy and congested capital.
“WE PRIDE OURSELVES ON OUR HEARTWARMING HOSPITALITY AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL”
– PIPPA PEPERA
About the MD, Pippa Pepera
Although born in Ghana, to an English mother and a Ghanaian father, Philippa grew up in Canada from an early age, returning to Ghana when she was 24. Having used Ghana as a case study in her thesis on primary healthcare at the University of Waterloo in Canada, she got a job with St Patrick’s Mission Hospital in Offinso to educate the public on healthcare as part of the district health management team.
Although she initially planned to return to Canada for further studies, she married and years later, with four children who were in school, she focused on her dream to build a health and fitness centre worthy of the best international standards, founding Pippa’s Health Centre Ltd.
As she continues to grow her business and offer services to the most affluent Ghanaians, she would like to see the government invest in community fitness projects that would encourage and educate Ghana’s youth to stay healthy through exercise and a proper diet.
She would like to be remembered, in the final analysis, as a woman who set the bar for fitness and the delivery of quality gyms in Ghana; and as a woman who has contributed to her community with passion and commitment.