A number of signs seen posted on the door and windows of Anytime Fitness in West Caldwell Thursday night said the gym is expected to re-open next week.
Franchise owners declared bankruptcy two weeks ago and abruptly closed the fitness center's doors without reportedly giving any notice to members.
According to Mark Daly, national media director for Anytime Fitness, the company’s corporate counsel is in conversation with the trustee handling the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case which was filed on Monday, Jan. 17. Daly said last week the company was feeling “optimistic” it would be able to reopen the club in a matter of weeks.
“It’s going to require the cooperation of the trustee,” Daly said, “but we received confirmation that he is willing to work with us.”
In the meantime, Daly said the West Caldwell club’s 794 members could use any of the company’s other clubs, the closest of which is in Morris Plains.
“We will update (members) as soon as we can, when we have new real information for them. But we are in fact hopeful that we are going to be able to get that club open in a couple of weeks,” Daly said. He said prospective franchisees have expressed interest in assuming ownership of the club.
There are about 1,500 independently owned and operated Anytime Fitness clubs around the country, which offer members 24/7 access to facilities. According to Daly, the company reached the one-millionth-member mark Monday.
On Tuesday afternoon, a steady flow of members approached the fitness center to find the 8 ½ x 11 bankruptcy notices posted in the windows of the Bloomfield Avenue strip mall storefront. According to the notices, bankruptcy attorney Benjamin A. Stanziale, Jr., of West Orange-based Stanziale and Stanziale, has been appointed the trustee of the bankruptcy. Stanziale did not return calls when asked for comment.
Jaclyn Ingoglia of North Caldwell found out about the business closing when she arrived in gym clothes ready to work out Tuesday afternoon. Ingoglia said she had been a member since June and visited the club three to four days a week to do cardiovascular and weight training. She had been paying extra for a personal trainer.
“I kind of wanted to work out. I guess I need to find somewhere else to go,” Ingoglia said.
Some of the members outside the club Tuesday had heard rumors about the closing and were coming to see for themselves. Such was the case for Guy Connelly of Caldwell. Connelly said he liked to come to Anytime Fitness because it was rarely crowded.
“It was always empty,” Connelly said. “Now I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Brian Taylor of Caldwell joined the club with his older brother. He said they found out about the business closing on Monday night when they came to work out together and discovered the business shuttered.
“They never said anything to us,” Taylor said.
The 24-year-old said he visited the fitness club about four times a week and paid $30 a month for his membership, a discounted rate available through his employer, Shoprite.
According to the company’s national media director, the West Caldwell franchise was owned by Shayne Michaelis, Dean Ulan and Susan Zartman. It opened on Dec. 29, 2008.
There was no information on the business phone, website or Facebook page regarding the abrupt closing. The Facebook page was last updated on Jan. 5 with a promotion telling members that if they bring five new customers in they could win an iPad touch.
A message left on the club’s answering machine was not immediately returned.
West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta said he was not aware that Anytime Fitness had declared bankruptcy until this afternoon and that he has not received any calls or correspondence regarding the business closing.
The club made news in March 2010 when an on narcotics charges.
Anytime Fitness franchises are independently owned and operated. According to the corporate website, the company is based in Hastings, Minn. The corporate website lists 10 other clubs in New Jersey, the closest to West Caldwell is in Morris Plains.