By Mark Wineka
GX Fitness, unable to pay on its back rent to the city of Salisbury, closed its doors for good Tuesday night, owner Ken Weaver said.
Weaver issued a brief statement to the newspaper.
“After months of trying to find a partner for the future,” he said, “GX Fitness will close its doors tonight (Tuesday).
“Arrangements have been made with area clubs for all of GX members to finish their current membership at either Contours Express for Ladies or The Forum.”
Weaver said most of the classes that were available at GX Fitness “will be offered in the near future at The Forum.”
“The YMCA also is offering to exchange no enrollment fee to all members till the end of June,” Weaver said. “All members are encouraged to visit these clubs and decide which one is best for their needs.”
Matt Marsh, co-owner of The Forum, said his business is offering GX Fitness members trial memberships so they don’t have to miss any workouts. Later, The Forum will try to contact each of those former GX members individually to work out a new contract with The Forum, if they desire.
The former GX contracts will not automatically become valid at The Forum.
For now, Marsh stressed, The Forum’s top priority has been trying to make the transition as comfortable as possible for the GX people.
“We’ve had a great response so far,” Marsh said.
He added that The Forum as been “overwhelmed by the people and phone calls” it has received since GX Fitness closed.
Weaver has had an ownership interest in GX Fitness since 1995, and it was formerly known as New Life Health Spa and Rowan Health and Fitness Club.
Last week in Small Claims Court, Rowan County Magistrate Todd Wyrick ruled in favor of the city and entered an order for eviction of GX Fitness within 10 days.
Court records showed that GX Fitness owed the city $50,862 in back rent and penalties. Since the city bought the property at 313 S. Main St. for $1 million in 2003, GX Fitness was supposed to be paying $2,300 a month in rent.
Weaver sought to borrow money from members to make a cash payment of about half of what he owed Salisbury and hold off an eviction.
He also was trying to raise investment money toward a new business plan in which he envisioned offering a day spa, wellness center, multiple pools and exercise rooms, an Internet cafe and other services that he said would be unique to the area.
GX Fitness had 24 full- and part-time employees, and Weaver said he had 1,700 members on the books.
Members held a meeting with Weaver May 31 at the Meroney Theater to discuss the club’s predicament and plans for addressing it. Weaver said the overriding message he heard that evening was that members wanted the club to stay open.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-798-4263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mark Wineka