The Energy Club gym in Shirlington is closing in August after never fully recovering from a drop in membership due to Covid.
The independently-owned gym in the Village at Shirlington (2900 S. Quincy Street) announced the impending closure on Aug. 15 “with a sad heart,” per an email from President Richard Mandley and General Manager Justin Greene to members. The email was shared with ARLnow and confirmed by Mandley yesterday (Thursday).
“We had hoped that our membership would return to pre-pandemic levels, but the landscape has changed, and many people continue to work from home,” Mandley and Greene told members. “Fitness habits have changed too, with people shifting to virtual workouts or exercising from home. As a small independent business with local ownership, it became increasingly difficult to compete with franchises and ‘corporate-owned’ gyms.”
Over the years, The Energy Club offered a host of social and fitness events to distinguish itself from other gyms. It attracted a significant number of commuters, who made up around 35% of members. When Covid hit, these commuting members largely canceled their memberships, Mandley told ARLnow.
“Although we have a very loyal membership who supported us throughout the pandemic, it became apparent that we could longer support our occupancy costs with the loss in membership, and we were unable to reach a new long-term agreement with our landlord,” he said.
The Energy Club had tried to negotiate for lower rent while it worked to increase membership. The landlord’s lender did not approve this request, Mandley’s email to members said. Negotiations ended in May.
A reader told ARLnow this was “sad news for many in Shirlington.”
Mandley and Greene, however, already have a plan. They say they are scouting out new locations nearby and pledged to keep members apprised of their progress.
Meantime, virtual classes continue and outdoor classes could start next month. Members will also be able to train at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria (510 Dulany Street).
Mandley and Greene say they are grateful for the 17 years they were able to serve the Shirlington community and work with talented fitness professionals.
“We are proud to say that we have changed lives and know that many relationships with the community and within the membership have been established and will continue,” they said.
Photos via The Energy Club/Facebook
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Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
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