By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
Before it had a chance to have a grand opening, Fitness One-Moore (647 SW 19th St.) is having a grand closing.
The athletic and fitness center announced last week that it would not be opening as planned. It is instead moving on to make room for a national competitor, LA Fitness.
“Very recently, Fitness One Moore has negotiated a contract for its sale to LA Fitness International in order to avoid direct competition,” Fitness One stated on its Facebook page. “Due to the confidential nature of the business negotiations, we have been unable to give updates or answer specific questions through social media.”
According to Zachary Wood, who is the regional manager of the Fitness One-Norman, the Moore location was a week away from opening its doors. But LA Fitness seemingly made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
“Essentially, L.A. Fitness is going to go directly across the street next to Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Wood said. “We were about to open. We were about a week out. The club is beautiful. It’s perfect. They contacted us and we made a deal last week. In fact, it was done on Friday.”
Months before it was scheduled to open, Fitness One began a membership drive allowing residents to sign up.
According to Fitness One spokeswoman Katharine Wood, those who took advantage of this opportunity have a couple of options.
“We would like to thank the people of Norman and Moore for their support of our business and we will continue to work hard to serve our customers at the Norman location,” Katharine Wood said in a statement. “We have sent a letter to the members who signed up for the Moore location during our pre-sale phase, informing them that no personal information is being given to LA Fitness and they are not under any obligation to LA Fitness. Fitness One has not collected any money from those who specifically signed up for the Moore location, nor will it be collecting any money from them if this sale goes through.”
However, that hasn’t satisfied some Moore residents who were looking forward to the new gym.
“We only became members at the Norman location to wait for the Moore one to be built,” Brandi Miller-Dykes posted on Facebook. “I was counting on the pool and child care. I think we may cancel our Norman membership and look elsewhere.”
Tonya Hacker was more concerned with those who thought they would have a job at Fitness One-Moore.
“How disappointing,” Hacker posted. “I know people that have been waiting to start work there and now they do not have a job after being told it would be open very soon. A lot of wasted time when they could have already had a job or been looking for one. Posting photos of progress and inside while this was going on is lying to people waiting to work.”
Fitness One officials said they are doing what they can to make this transition go smoothly for their customers. They know there is confusion surrounding the situation since the sale of the club was so unexpected. A hotline has been set up at 215-9577 for members who have questions.
“It was a business decision,” Zachary Wood said. “There is no way that market could survive two large clubs. It’s just not big enough. That’s hard for people to understand. We wanted to open it as much as anyone else did. Just one of those things. We are just trying to make everyone happy at this point.”