A membership to Enumclaw Fitness Center (EFC) currently offers access to workout equipment, facilities, classes and health and fitness support from staff. Under owners Drew and Kailyn Elliott's vision for its future, a membership would provide not just that but also stake in the operations and outreach of the local gym.
That stake involves two new developments that are effective as of this month:
1) Members will be assessed a bi-annual improvement fee of up to $15; how that money is used -- whether its for repairs, facility enhancements or donations back to the community -- would be determined by majority rule via survey. A board of directors that has yet to be formed, may also meet to represent all members.
2) Members are being asked to commit to one-year contracts rather than signing up for month-to-month memberships.
Though it's nice to have the membership numbers for bragging rights, the second item helps them meet a much more practical need: to show the bank that they have the business volume to warrant a loan to purchase a new gym facility for EFC, said Drew.
The current building at 856 Cole St. is in fact up for public auction June 29 after previous owners Anne and John Casey, who still own the building according to King County Assessor's records, filed for bankruptcy last year.
The Elliotts took over the business only in 2010, said Drew; it was written in their contract that in their third year they would work towards owning the building as well. The building debt, however, is currently estimated at about $670,000. According to King County, it was appraised in 2012 at $523,400.
The bankruptcy, along with several instances of landlord negligence as detailed by the Elliotts in a three-page summary of a member meeting this past Saturday (which is posted in the EFC reception area), give them just cause for breaking the lease, which is good until October 2013, he said in the summary.
That EFC has had an ongoing parking problem with neighbors is also incentive to move.
The site the Elliotts are looking at is located at 1415 Blake St. just off of State Route 410. This was where had been located before it moved earlier this year. It was reportedly the site of a former gym before it became a printing business. "We'd just be bringing it back to its roots," Drew said.
A mutual friend who is an architect is helping the couple draw up plans. There is ample parking and space for two classrooms, one bath each for men and women, and communal lockers outside the bathrooms and around the classrooms, according to the meeting summary.
Then again, there would be no sauna and the new location is about half the size of the current location, Drew said.
Nonetheless, he hopes members will trust their judgement with this location along with the management changes they want to implement giving members more say.
Asking for a Favor Back
According to Drew, total membership at EFC had been hovering around 900 when the Elliotts took over the business. That number has increased to about 2,000 -- with about 1,400 considered 'active' members.
"Every year we've had the gym, we've grown," he said.
Both Drew and Kailyn, who have experience working in public service, have made it a point to provide discounted memberships for various public employees.
Now, in looking at the $500,000 asking price for the Blake Street property as well as added costs for renovation, the couple hope the community can help them out by committing to those year-long memberships. In exchange, "all members would be protected by legal rights under contract should a contract be signed and the gym close at some future date, i.e. if the gym is not providing the services outlined in the contract, funds cannot legally be drawn from a members count [sic]," said the meeting summary.
"We're good business owners and we've been good to the community," Drew said. "We're asking for a favor back now."
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