For 13 years, Total Fitness Athletic Club has been one of Fallon’s staples for fitness.
Workout fanatics or those who just wanted to stay in better shape migrated to the center to improve the quality of their health. But recently, owner Lisa Gough announced the club will close on Jan. 1 if the business cannot be sold.
The gym is up for sale for $275,000, but Gough recommends having additional capital as well. If a buyer cannot be found, the equipment and fixtures will be liquidated, Gough said.
“It’s very difficult,” she added. “I’m at a place now where I can separate my emotions from logic. It’s very sad.”
An outpouring of condolences and well-wishers littered Gough’s Facebook page after the announcement.
The other gyms in town are the Body Shop Fitness Center and the women’s only Body Balance Wellness Center and Kaia F.I.T.
Anytime Fitness, a national chain, is rumored to open a facility in Fallon, although no business license or fictitious name license has been submitted to the city of Fallon or Churchill County.
“I would just like to thank the community for supporting us the past 13 years,” Gough said. “I want to express appreciation and gratitude for every member and guest who came in and utilized use.”
The decision, meanwhile, did not come easy for Lisa and Theron Gough. The two and their and business partner, Wayne Ocegeura, opened the workout center in 2001. The Goughs bought out Ocegeura in 2010, “took out a big loan” and soon after the economic troubles began.
Lisa Gough said for the past two years she and Theron — who works at Naval Air Station Fallon — have poured in more than $100,000 of their own money to keep the club operational. But fighting a flat economy and a substantial loss in membership forced the Goughs’ hand.
On Monday, Lisa Gough informed her staff of the decision, which she said was heartbreaking.
“It was devastating,” Lisa Gough added. “I couldn’t even come in (Tuesday). My employees are an extension of me. I have invested my heart and time. We are all a team and they mean something to me. It was gut-wrenching hard. Every person on our team has shown nothing but support and love. All of them are going to stay with us to the end.”
The Goughs spent the past year pouring over the decision and trying to figure a way out of the red. Total Fitness was Lisa Gough’s passion project and when she “looked at it logically” she saw the only option — closing.
“The economy really had a lot to do with it,” Lisa Gough said. “We have depleted our savings and run out of all of our options. We have no choice.”
About two years ago, Lisa Gough said finances were tight, but with the addition of new workout regimens such as Pink Gloves Boxing and an attempt to bolster membership optimism remained.
The past year, however, did not see a rise in membership and soon the Goughs realized they must close the doors.
Depsite the gloom, Lisa Gough said there is still an outside shot the gym could be saved. Although unlikely, she said if a buyer were to come through by Dec. 31 the facility may remain open. She would stay on for about three months to assist the new owner before moving on.
“That’s the big hope,” Lisa Gough said. “There’s been a couple people that have said they would think about it. I don’t have anything solid right now.”
A prospective buyer, though, must act fast, Lisa Gough said, as there are numerous areas to be addressed. For examples, billing, payroll, taxes, retaining membership, utilities and more.
As for the members, Lisa Gough said all of December’s payments will be prorated and all billing will stop at the end of the month. For those who have paid full memberships, the money will be refunded, Lisa Gough said, although it may take up to 90 days.
“We don’t have money today to do that and we have to go through the liquidation process,” she said.
Despite the news and sad reactions from the members, Lisa Gough said it is a positive for her customers.
“It has created an environment and an opportunity to grow,” she added. “You have to put on your thinking caps and get creative and how to manage your fitness. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
As for the equipment, Lisa Gough said she is open to selling the items to individuals, but it must meet her asking price or it will head to a salvage yard.
“It’s not a swap meet, we are going to get fair market value,” she said. “I would prefer to get it into the hands in someone who is going to use it.”
Despite the closing, Lisa Gough said she will start private consulting, public speaking and write a book about mental toughness and wellness drawing from her own experiences.
“I have a lot of great opportunities and things to look forward to in life,” she said.