A popular west-end gym will be converting to a discount gym in November this year, meaning several staff members may lose their jobs and clients may have to change locations.
One member has taken it upon herself to keep that from happening.
READ MORE: GoodLife Fitness to offer no frills gyms
On Monday, clients of GoodLife Fitness on Princess Street in the Norwest Plaza were notified by a note left on the door that that location would be merging with the downtown location at Barrack and Wellington streets on Nov. 12.
On Nov. 18, the west-end location will reopen, but under GoodLife’s budget brand, Fit4Less.
The announcement has caused Karin Smythe, a member at the west-end gym, to take action to keep the change from happening.
“It’s like a big family. A lot of people, that’s their safe place to go, we all get along, and we all know each other, and it’s sad.”
Smythe says she has been going to the gym for the last five years, and during that time she has made friends and felt like she had become part of a community. Now, she worries all that will be lost.
“If we can keep it open, that’s my main goal,” Smythe said.
Although there will still be a gym operating at this location, the no-frills gym will not offer daycare, something that is currently offered at the west-end GoodLife but is not available at the downtown location. It also won’t offer fitness classes or access to personal trainers.
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Smythe said she spoke to several members who say they are also upset about the change, so she decided to start a petition. Just before noon on Tuesday, Smythe said she had about 100 signatures, many belonging to people who did not feel they could attend the downtown GoodLife.
“No one wants to drive all the way down there when we live in Amherstview and the west-end,” Smythe told Global News.
Although both brands are owned by the same company, memberships for each have to be bought separately. Adam Roberts, public relations manager for GoodLife, says they have waved this condition for a period of time in order to ease the transition.
“Members have been given immediate access to all clubs in Ontario, including our Barrack and Wellington Club, until February 2020 to help find a new home club that best fits their needs,” Roberts said in an emailed statement.
Roberts didn’t specify a number when asked how many people will lose their jobs during the transition.
“Impact on our associates varies from position to position but we are working hard to retain as many associates as possible. We will be working with our associates individually to determine exactly how many will be transferred to new clubs.”
In the end, Robert said the change was decided upon after a review of the west-end location’s operations.
“After this evaluation, we have decided that merging our two GoodLife Clubs into the Barrack and Wellington location and converting the Norwest club to our low-cost Fit4Less Club model will allow us to best serve the needs of the local community.”