INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- New Lady Fitness, an Indianapolis, IN-based women-only franchise, folded 12 clubs in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska and in some cases, transferred memberships to co-ed gyms. Members in St. Louis, MO, arrived at their clubs on Nov. 8 to find locked doors and signs that they can visit another club chain, but according to most state laws, health club closings must provide comparable facilities or a refund, according to Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, a St. Louis law firm that is investigating the closings and offering free consultations to members.
The club in St. Peters, MO, sent members to Club Fitness, which has eight locations in the St. Louis area. The chain was selected as a replacement because other women-only clubs didn’t have comparable amenities or square footage, says Matthew Jaco, communications director for Club Fitness.
The New Lady Fitness club in Omaha sent its members to Better Bodies, a coed club. While a clause on the back of the contract says New Lady Fitness has the right to transfer memberships to another gym, some of the Omaha New Lady Fitness members are considering legal action to get their money back and get out of the contracts.
The chain had five locations in the St. Louis metropolitan area along with locations in Omaha, NE, and Kansas City. So far, the closings have prompted 115 complaints to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, which is reviewing the complaints and trying to get more information from owners.
New Lady Fitness also operates three Indianapolis, IN, clubs, which are under different owners than the Omaha, Kansas City and St. Louis clubs and are still open, according to the corporate office.