Total Fitness gym in Westbrook has shut its doors, leaving some members to wonder about their money paid in advance for dues and training.

“The club is closed,” George Marcus, an attorney representing Sheryll Cummings, an investor in the gym, said Wednesday.

Marcus said Cummings owns the building and hopes to find a customer to buy the building who would honor prior commitments to gym members.

“She’s not in a position to refund dues,” Marcus said. “She feels badly what happened to members.”

“She regrets what’s happened to the club and she has lost a significant investment,” Marcus said.

Marcus said his client didn’t make the decision to shut down the club, and declined to reveal the name of who did. There is no projected date for when the club would reopen, Marcus said.

A sign on the door Tuesday at the gym, located at 200 Larrabee Road, announced it is closed until further notice.

“People are devastated,” said Paula Green of Westbrook, a member at the gym.

The Westbrook City Clerk’s office identified the owners as Yvette Cote, 13 Stroudwater Falls, and Cummings, 84 Johnson Road. Though the license doesn’t give a municipality for the two, there are addresses in Gorham for those numbers and streets.

The two women could not be reached for comment this week, despite numerous attempts.

Rachel Smetana of Gorham, who was a personal trainer at the gym, said Tuesday Cote was managing the club. Smetana said the gym had three trainers, 10 fitness instructors, three child-care providers, two massage therapists and five front-desk staff members. She said the club had 700 to 800 members.

“Some paid in full for the year,” Smetana said.

“They had a big senior citizen operation,” Green said.

Some of those who worked out at the gym said they were told the gym would be closed during repairs for two weeks beginning May 1. They were told the gym would reopen May 15.

But the sign in the door Tuesday read: “We are temporarily closed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. We will keep you posted with any further updates. Thank you for your patience. It is greatly appreciated.”

John Burke Jr. of Westbrook has been working out at the gym with a personal trainer for about a month. He said was there with his trainer at 5:10 p.m. on Friday and he believed his trainer had permission to be there. Burke said while they were there, two men arrived and changed the locks on exterior doors. Burke said he, the trainer and a woman also there for a workout were ordered out.

Burke said a man, who was a gym employee, was also there working out. “He was kicked out as well,” Burke said.

Burke said the trainer didn’t get to gather his personal belongings. “There’s a lot of frustration,” Burke said.

Raffaella and Eric Peters of Westbrook have been gym members for about five years. Raffaella Peters thought the gym was to reopen at 4 a.m. Monday. She went there Monday to work out and found an empty parking lot, doors locked and the sign on the door. She had paid $200 in advance for training she hasn’t received yet, she said.

Smetana hasn’t had any communication from the owners. “I don’t have faith in it reopening,” said Smetana, who already has another job.

Smetana did receive a telephone message Monday from a front desk staff member at the gym. The message said it wouldn’t be open the next day. The message also said the gym hoped to open at some point and to call with questions. Smetana received voice mail when she called back.

Judy Richard of Portland has been a member for two years and had worked out at Total Fitness a couple of times a week. But, Richard said, she hadn’t seen Cote for six months.

Richard said her $300 yearly membership is paid up through March 1 next year. In addition, she has 12 personal training sessions left of those that she paid for in advance worth $30 each.

Green, who has been a member at the gym for 15 years, said her monthly fee of $37 is paid electronically from her account. But she has instructed her bank to stop payment.

Members understood the gym was closing for repairs for the two weeks because of a mold issue in the men’s locker room.

Smetana said she and another trainer instructed clients on the lawn at Total Fitness for the two weeks. “We hung on, thinking we were re-opening,” Smetana said.

Smetana was there two to three hours each day and the other trainer even longer. Neither saw any evidence of repair work.

“We saw no one,” Smetana said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: