Archived Story

Fitness Center still in limbo

Published 10:42am Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fergus Falls members of the closed Anytime Fitness are now able to resume their workout routines at the YMCA.

Earlier this month Anytime Fitness franchisee Ryan Manning removed the equipment from the Fergus Falls health club located at 120 W. Cavour Ave. in the City Center mall in downtown Fergus Falls and shuttered the business. Members of Anytime Fitness have not been able to use their memberships for most of September.

Matt Saurer, a personal trainer at the Fergus Falls fitness center when it was open, e-mailed members Monday night stating that “the Anytime Fitness franchisee has worked out a deal with the Fergus Falls YMCA so members can work out at the Y.”

Jen Godzinski, office manager at the YMCA confirmed this morning that an agreement had been reached with Anytime Fitness to allow its members to use the YMCA facilities free of charge until Oct. 19. Anytime Fitness members need to tell the YMCA’s front desk personnel that they are Anytime Fitness members and register on a sign-up sheet.

“You will have full access to the fitness area, pool and daycare,” Saurer stated.

“We are hoping to have a new club very soon,” he said.

Anytime Fitness was believed to be relocating to the Great Plains Natural Gas building at 105 W. Lincoln in downtown Fergus Falls. The center’s landlord at its 120 1/2 W. Cavour Ave. location said Manning had fallen nine months behind on rent.

Jeanette Tostenson, who is listed as manager of the Fergus Falls center posted on Anytime Fitness of Fergus Falls’ Facebook page on Sept. 15, “We had all the trucks packed up and ready to unload at our new location (105 w. Lincoln) We waited for the landlord to give us keys, however, that never happened, which left us in a real sense homeless.

“The preliminary lease had already been signed, so we were just waiting for the keys. We got news that the landlord (at the last minute) decided he wanted to have his attorney go over the agreement again.

“At this point we haven’t heard back from him. We are currently looking for a new location. We’re so sorry to leave you without a facility, but please know we are doing everything we can to resolve this issue.”

On Friday, Tostenson shared a new post: “Still waiting! UGG! We haven’t heard anything on our end! I wish I could tell you more! I really need to work and workout!”

Manning could not be reached for comment because phones at the fitness center are not being answered.

However, a message was posted last Thursday on the company’s answering machine stating that “We apologize for the unexpected delay of the reopening. The owner and parent company are working to provide its members with an alternative facility in a couple of days.”

Two weeks ago, another Anytime Fitness operator, Tim Restle, who operates four Anytime Fitness franchises in Bemidji, Virginia and Hibbing, said he would be taking over the Fergus Falls franchise.

Progress on that transaction has been slowed, said Mark Daly, corporate communications director for Hastings-based Anytime Fitness.

“Anytime Fitness is committed to reopening the club as soon as possible and will do so as soon as humanly possible,” Daly said Monday afternoon.

Daly said talks are ongoing between Manning and Anytime Fitness’ corporate offices.

“We are in discussions with Mr. Manning and are trying to get the club open as soon as possible. We are hopeful for a resolution,” Daly said.

Monday night’s e-mail from Saurer was the first time since the center closed that Anytime Fitness’ estimated 550-600 members had been notified of the status of the club or their paid memberships.

Daly said Anytime Fitness’ corporate office is working with its billing agent, ABC Financial Services, to ensure that no members are billed while the club is closed.

“If a member feels they are being incorrectly billed they can contact us by e-mail at support@anytimefitness.com,” Daly said. Put Fergus Falls in the subject line, he said.

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