The popular and long-standing gym Del Mar Workout closed abruptly without notice, shocking members and employees alike.
"We wholeheartedly regret to inform you that Del Mar Workout has closed its doors for good as of 12:01 a.m. on 12/16/09," a sign posted on the door of the gym by former owners Dave and Sonya Stauffer stated. "This is a decision that did not come easy. We apologize for no notice but we were left with no other choice."
The sign went on to state that although the owners had tried to increase memberships since July when they purchased the gym, business had been slow and banks refused them loans due to the sluggish economy.
"To the employees of Del Mar Workout, the deepest apologies as you were the #1 reason I kept it open this long," the sign concluded. "I did not want to put anyone out of a job and I know everyone was counting on this place. We are deeply sorry for any financial hurt this may cause you."
Tim Kinelan, a former gym member, said he was not out money because he was on a month-to-month payment plan, but he knows other members who paid in advance for memberships who now have no way to be reimbursed.
Louis Uridel, a personal trainer who worked at Del Mar Workout, said he received a text message at approximately 10:50 p.m. on the night the business closed from another personal trainer letting him know about the closure. He went to Del Mar Workout at about 1 a.m. to clean out his locker, and on the way there he said he saw a U-Haul truck followed by the gym owners' car.
When he got to the gym, Uridel said more than half of the equipment had been removed, including a television, dumbbells and spin bikes.
Although Uridel said the Stauffers paid him his earned wages, he knows many gym members who paid for services in advance shortly before the closing, such as packages of personal training sessions and memberships.
"It's very upsetting for them," Uridel said. "People just showed up with a notice on the door. That's kind of how it was handled."
Attempts were unsuccessful to contact Workout4life, the chain that owned Del Mar Workout, or the Stauffers.