A fitness network founded in London suddenly closed two of its locations in the city.

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A fitness network founded in London suddenly closed two of its locations in the city.

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“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Movati is closing its two London locations, effective 6pm, 31st August 2022,” reads a notice on the website for gyms in the far north and south. “This was a difficult decision, based on the unique circumstances of isolation in London. None of our other clubs in Canada have been affected.”

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Both London clubs were pressured by the pandemic shutdown, and with the impact of the shutdown “stressing Movati, the London real estate market economy is no longer sustainable,” the statement also noted.

Members will receive a refund for gym time and personal trainer sessions that have been paid for, but cannot be used after August 31, according to the statement. Staff were aware of the closure at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with little explanation offered, an employee told The Free Press.

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Movati owns 15 other clubs in Ontario and one in Edmonton. It has approximately 2,000 employees and 100,000 members at the location.

In a printed statement provided to members of London, a copy of which was seen by The Free Press, the company estimated more than 100 people would lose their jobs due to the shutdown.

“We would like to thank our London team members, our club members, the many charities we support and the entire London community for the privilege of serving them during these incredible 25 years,” it read. “We are disappointed today, but we are forever grateful.”

The fitness chain was founded in 1997 in London as The Athletic Club. In 2014, the chain changed its name to Movati Athletic, in part because the company lost its trademark challenge by the Ottawa Athletic Club, which was founded in 1976.

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The Athletic Club was founded by Alan Quesnel and David Wu, with the first location in North London. In a 2014 interview, its CEO, Chuck Kelly, told The London Free Press that the chain has succeeded by focusing on women and families and people who have not traditionally felt comfortable in the gym.

“We wanted to create a place where they could feel welcome,” he said. “Some people want to run a triathalon. Some people just want to play with their grandchildren.”

The soon-to-be-closed location of Movati in London is at 755 Wonderland Rd. N., just north of Oxford Street, and in the big box plaza at 3198 Wonderland Rd. S.

rrichmond@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/RandyRatLFPress

Laura Dennis named Cherry Bomb wrestler stays in shape at The Athletic Club in this 2010 file photo.  (Free Press Files)
Laura Dennis named Cherry Bomb wrestler stays in shape at The Athletic Club in this 2010 file photo. (Free Press Files)

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