By Christopher Glotfelty and Juliya Popova – Cougar News Contributors
The Valencia LA Fitness will become the company’s largest branch in California when the gym reopens in early April. While staff and club members both anxiously await the completed expansion, the location’s temporary closure has not been easy.
Despite its name, LA Fitness is one of the most ubiquitous gyms in the country, with over 210 locations stretching from coast to coast. Currently, there are 62 branches in California, including those in Valencia and Canyon Country. Established in 1984, the company continues to grow at a rate far exceeding competition such as Bally Total Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, and Spectrum Athletic Club.
Upon opening its doors in 2004 in the Gateway Village shopping center, the gym shared walls with Smart & Final and a flooring company. The latter business faced struggles in the early going, and were eventually forced to shut down in 2007. This proved convenient for a gym grappling with issues of overcrowding and embittered members. When the flooring company left, LA Fitness naturally made plans to expand their premises into the vacated building. According to a sales representative from the Valencia gym, “It was just becoming too crowded and we weren’t maintaining our members. For every 20 new members (we signed up), we would lose 10.”
The representative says the new abundance of space should correct the problem. But it goes beyond that. The additional 20,000 square feet will allow for extra free weight and cardio equipment, new cycling and training areas, and plenty of unobstructed plasma televisions. To top it off, the gym will feature new carpet and paint throughout, as well as ceramic tile in the dressing areas.
At its core, the new facility hopes to quell the undesired cancellation rate caused by the overcrowding. Trying to complete a workout between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. – the most convenient time frame for high school students and working America – had become nearly impossible. However, problems existed elsewhere. Iliah Turman, a 3-year club member, claims, “Either all of the machines were taken or out of service.” Nevertheless, she has high hopes for the expansion.
“It’s exciting. No more waiting for machines, classes, cycling. There will be more availability throughout the day.”
As expected, the temporary closure has directly affected the Canyon Country branch, which never dealt with droves of members before now. Suddenly displaced, frequenters of the Valencia gym have flocked to the location on Golden Valley Road. It’s been a virtual flip-flop, complete with the same problems evident in the Valencia facility. This is an annoyance not lost on long-time subscriber Michael Allegra, “Right now, it’s insane. I’ve been going an hour and a half later than usual to try and get on the machines,” said Allegra.
To remedy the situation, corporate has sent their Valencia managers and trainers to their branch in Canyon Country. Still, the projected April 1 reopening of the Valencia LA Fitness can’t come soon enough.
For the moment, the staff remains positive. Responding to the concerns of club members, the sales representative from earlier assures, “It’s going to be a big change. I think people will be happy with the results.”