Ultimate Fitness closes after 15 years

A poor economy and increased competition contributed to the closing of Ultimate Fitness Center in Grand Junction, its owners said Thursday.

John Laffey, who owned and operated the 417 Monument Road center with his wife Cindy, said the two factors contributed to the demise of the 15-year-old business.

“We’re sorry to have to be in this position,” Laffey said. “It’s no question it was economics, and a lot of other different factors.”

The center, which officially closed its doors this week, employed 15 part-time workers.

Laffey said he and his wife made the decision when they determined the recent recession had forced too many clients to discontinue their memberships, and things weren’t looking any better.

“Everything that I’m hearing is things are extremely bleak,” he said. “It’s a lot of factors, but there’s no question (memberships) is a big part of it. Obligating themselves to a membership is not on the acceptable (list). People aren’t buying luxuries right now.”

On the center’s website, http://www.gjultimatefitness.com, the Laffeys said they are reviewing what remaining members they have and are investigating “all options of compensation” to people who have prepaid memberships. They said more information will be posted on the site when it becomes available.

Laffey said the height of his business was six to eight years ago, before other fitness clubs, such as Gold’s Gym and Powerhouse Gym, began to open around town. Once that happened, and the economy began to sour at the end of 2008, business got steadily worse, he said.

“Both things happened at the same time,” he said. “The new competition, they couldn’t have picked a worse time, though I’m sure that was not their plan. It was not beneficial for anyone to open a facility. It was the worst possible time they could commit themselves to that kind of a venture.

“There’s no way for me to percentage out ... how much of either one of those things (contributed to the closing),” Laffey added. “It made it harder on existing clubs. I respect everybody who’s still out there, and I don’t want to make anything worse, but this (closing) is not good for fitness.”

Jobless claims, food prices slow economy

WASHINGTON — Jobs are scarce and food prices are likely to stay high through next year, according to new data that reinforced evidence of a U.S. economy stuck in a weak patch.

“There is a significant slowdown going on,” said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

There was some good news in the spate of reports released Thursday. The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in April.


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