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Corydon health club pulls stakes; members notified by locked doors

Exercise is all about routine, and on Dec. 16, a Monday, it was fitness as usual for patrons of Total Health & Fitness in Corydon.
The following morning, members arriving in the parking lot of the old Ford building at the corner of Chestnut and Mulberry streets soon realized that they would be doing their reps and sets somewhere else.
The lights were out in the health club, and a sign posted on the locked door gave the members the first and, so far, last word of the gym’s closing.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have lost our lease,” the notice said, adding: “This closure was not our intention.”
Later that afternoon, one of the door’s glass panes was smashed in an apparent act of vandalism, but no one has yet been charged in that incident.
Though the sign said members would be contacted individually as to their options, none of those interviewed by this newspaper have been. The gym’s owner, Don Bramer, and manager, Cameron Powell, are not listed in the phone book, and the notice provided no contact information. Bramer’s previous number has been disconnected.
Members had purchased contracts for the new year as late as the gym’s last week of operation. And many people were owed additional months on their contracts. One patron had recently purchased a two-year membership. Another had traded some of his dumbbells for membership time and was owed seven months on his contract.
Prices had recently increased, and THF was charging $40 for a one-month membership with discounts for buying four months or more at a time.
The gym solicited memberships as recently as Dec. 14 when four-month membership prices were quoted to Micah Shaffer three days before the gym’s closure. “Luckily, I didn’t buy a membership,” he said.
Last week, members said they had consulted an attorney. Though his lost membership dues would quickly be overshadowed by attorney’s fees, David Whipple said he was advised that a suit on behalf of all gym members might be cost-effective.
During summer 2001, THF increased its stock of free weights, strength training equipment and aerobic equipment. That December the gym added 1,700 square feet of floor space and $36,000 of Nautilus resistance training machines. The inventory of free weights was again increased to include an additional 2,000 pounds of Olympic plates.
“When I first started out, there wasn’t enough equipment there, but now it’s up to snuff,” said Ralph Bliss, who had a month left on his membership.
Bliss wasn’t surprised by the closing. “The last two or three times I’ve been in there, hardly anybody has been in there,” he said.
Most members, however, were caught off guard.
The gym had recently restocked its shelves and began carrying athletic apparel, leading some members to believe the closing was a legitimate surprise. Others interpreted the last-minute membership sales as a desperate effort to keep the gym open, while others said they were simply cheated.