From The Straits Times archives: Fitness clubs that called it quits

The facade of fitness club California Fitness branch in Novena Square, taken two years ago.
The facade of fitness club California Fitness branch in Novena Square, taken two years ago. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Gyms and other fitness clubs have become increasingly popular among Singaporeans, especially with the opening of more round-the-clock gym operators.

 

For instance, international gym operator Virgin Active has made bold plans to expand, pumping in up to $100 million and open eight to 10 more clubs.

However, some operators have closed down after struggling with financial and manpower difficulties, leaving many gym members in the lurch.

With gym chain California Fitness becoming the latest casualty with the closure of all its outlets, we look at some fitness clubs that had to bring down the shutters in recent years.

1. California Fitness


A customer looking at the signage at the lobby of Republic Plaza 2 , where gym chain California Fitness used to operate.  ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Trouble started brewing as early as July 15, 2016, when California Fitness shut all 12 of its Hong Kong outlets after chalking up millions of dollars in debts. It is estimated that the firm owes more than $23 million in rent and other operating costs.

Subsequent closures of its Singapore outlets at Republic Plaza on July 16 and its two remaining outlets on Wednesday were done with immediate effect.

It was revealed that the outlets were closed because the owner, JV Fitness, lacked the finances to keep operations running.

READ MORE HERE

2. Vivafit


Female gym goers during a 30-minute Body Vive workout class at Vivafit Raffles Place.  PHOTO: ST FILE

Closure of four of its outlets at Tanjong Pagar, Raffles Place, Marine Parade and Clementi have left many members of women's gym Vivafit feeling worked up and seeking compensation in March, 2016.

Two of its franchise branches are still open.

The club, which had run out of money and filed for bankruptcy on March 22 was also plagued with manpower problems as it tried to expand.

It has since looked into possible solutions, such as reopening one or more gyms under a different management or finding alternative locations for members to go to.

READ MORE HERE

3. Pure Fitness


Members working out at the 15,000 sq ft Pure Fitness gym in Knightsbridge mall in Orchard on Dec 15, 2015, before it was closed to make way for Singapore’s first Apple Store.  PHOTO: ST FILE

Closure of one of its two gym outlets in October 2015 - a 15,000 sq ft gym in Knightsbridge mall in Orchard - left many members disgruntled. It was closed to make way for Singapore's first Apple Store.

In December 2015, seven weeks since its closure, members have yet to receive any news of compensation.

Many are afraid that the remaining outlet, the Asia Square gym, will become more crowded as a result, causing membership to fall in value.

READ MORE HERE

4. Yoga Studio Sadhana Sanctuary

The yoga studio at Penang Road in Dhoby Ghaut reportedly closed without prior notice in July 2015.

It claimed that it was undergoing renovations but members noticed students and instructors leaving in the months leading to its closure.

Checks online have shown that it is now permanently closed.

READ MORE HERE

5. Sky Fitness


People working out at the Sky Fitness gym in HarbourFront.  PHOTO: SKY FITNESS

The unexpected closure of Sky Fitness at HarbourFront in March 2015 left the gym with a $3.8 million debt owed to its members, banks and other stakeholders and close to 700 members being affected.

Members were not hopeful of getting their money back as Sky Fitness would have to first pay all their major creditors.

Opened in 2006, telltale signs of trouble were present in months leading up to its closure when staff were not paid their salaries on time and rumours swirled that it was ceasing operations.

READ MORE HERE