health club owner accuses closure of ‘government funded project’ | Marion



Health club owners Marion blame government-funded competition for her demise this week after 20 years in business, a representative said in a letter posted to the closed company’s door.

“The closure is due to a changing business climate and increased competition. The most recent competition is a project funded by the government and ultimately funded by taxpayer dollars, ”reads the letter, signed by Tracy D. Rone.

“Unfortunately, this new competitor offers services, amenities and membership fees that cannot be successfully matched by a small business like Vigiano’s II. Although it seems unfair, it is a commercial reality, ”the undated letter continues.

A phone number listed for Vigiano’s II, 2002 Bittle Place, has been disconnected. Attempts to locate a number for Rone or others associated with the company were unsuccessful.

The letter did not name the competition, but the city is set to open its $ 16 million Hub recreation center, paid for in part with a $ 2.5 million state grant and the rest in bonds. issued by the city funded by a motel tax. The price includes construction, architectural costs, salaries and equipment.

Mayor Robert Butler scoffed at the suggestion that the recreation center still open – a 64,000 square foot facility that will offer indoor water sports, fitness classes, child care and more has nothing to do with closing. The center is scheduled for partial opening on February 2.

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“It just irritates a little,” said Butler. “The recreation center is not even open. It’s not even in business, and this business is shutting down and they are not telling their customers or anyone that they are shutting down. It’s a hell of a way to run a navy.

“I don’t believe for a second that the recreation center is responsible for closing them.”

Public Goods Commissioner Doug Patton said he didn’t know enough about Vigiano’s II or the shutdown to comment.

However, other local gyms have seen varying degrees of impact on their memberships. The Hub started registering members last summer and as of last week it had over 1,300 memberships made up of individuals and families.

John Etherton, co-owner of Gold’s Gym in Marion and Carbondale, said walk-in traffic to Marion’s site has dropped significantly over the past two months, some of the busiest for health centers as people s ‘pledge to stick to their New Year’s resolutions.

Etherton said walk-in business, typically those looking for a new membership, has declined by about 60% in Marion. Meanwhile, Carbondale’s customer base has remained stable, Etherton said.

“We have seen a huge impact,” he said. Always with a reliable clientele, he does not envisage having to close the Marion Gymnasium, a franchise employing around 45 people, eight of whom are full-time.

Neither does Vigiano’s healthcare world in Herrin, an unaffiliated operation that will honor Marion’s membership contracts if those clients agree to commit to a year-long Herrin facility, CEO Michelle Cottonaro said. .

Cottonaro said the Hub’s impact on his business has been minimal, so far.

“Has that affected our business at the moment, I’m going to knock on wood and say no,” she said.

Bob Brown, a member of Vigiano’s II for eight or nine years, learned of the closure through the media this week. He said he planned to stay a member because he was happy with the service and felt it was cheaper.

“I just want to know how to get my $ 200 back,” he said.

In the letter posted, Rone said that refunds could only be offered when new funds are available, provided for by the sale of the gymnasium building. She also said the business has been kept afloat over the past month thanks to her personal savings.

“Due to virtual loss of revenue overnight from lack of membership renewals and new business, I can only offer refunds when funds are available,” she said in the letter.




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