The sudden closure of a popular New Jersey gym has caused outrage among both members and employees.
Last week, members at the Bally Total Fitness in Voorhees claim they were told the gym would close temporarily for repairs. They were in for a rude awakening this week however when they arrived at the gym and noticed a handwritten note stating the facility would close permanently on December 8.
Employees at Bally also received an unpleasant surprise. They say they were informed last week that L.A. Fitness planned on buying 171 Bally franchises nationwide.
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“So we thought we had jobs,” said Toni Arlotta, a personal trainer and receptionist at Bally for 30 years. “We came in on Thursday and we didn’t have jobs.”
Arlotta and her fellow employees claim no one told them they were let go. Instead they say they showed up for work on Thursday and were told to go home.
Members are equally furious over the gym’s handling of the closure. Jack Fein says he wonders when the Voorhees Bally knew about the L.A. Fitness acquisition because they didn’t stop accepting money from members.
“I renewed my subscription here in November for another year,” said Fein. “I didn’t find out until the other day that the place is closing.”
“I think it’s a disgrace because the manager here along with his staff were signing people up as early as Wednesday morning to memberships,” said member Scott Denny. “They knew and never told anybody.”
NBC 10 tried to contact the corporate offices of Bally and L.A. Fitness but received no response. However, they released the following statement regarding the acquisition:
Our objective in general is to make this transition as easy as possible for both the members and the employees. We will be servicing all of the membership agreements that we acquired from Bally. The majority of clubs we acquired will remain open, but we will be closing some of the clubs before the end of the year. If we close a facility, we will transfer those members’ agreements to a nearby facility, either an acquired Bally or an LA Fitness. We plan to add new equipment to many of the clubs, and we also have plans to remodel, expand or relocate a number of the clubs to larger and newer facilities.
Two members claimed that their lifetime memberships would not be honored however.
“I just paid for three years, they said they are not going to honor it,” said Julie.
“L.A. Fitness now tells us that those lifetime memberships are null and void,” said Denny.
“I don’t know whether I’m upset over Bally or L.A. Fitness,” said Arlotta. “I don’t know who to be upset at.”
Another Bally Total Fitness is located in Deptford, New Jersey. The closest L.A. Fitness is located about 3 miles from the Voorhees facility in Somerdale along the White Horse Pike.