Nearly 25 years after opening its first clublike location in New York, the David Barton Gym abruptly closed its doors Wednesday, leaving countless members in the lurch.
“DavidBartonGym has discontinued operations at its locations in New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago and Bellevue, Wash., effective immediately,” a statement from parent company Club Ventures confirmed. “All affected employees and clients are being notified.”
Club Ventures cited “severe competitive pressures, particularly in New York,” for the closures. “It has become impossible for these locations to continue,” it said in the statement on the gym's website.
Locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu will remain open, Club Ventures said, adding that they “are in markets that are more favorable to the company’s business model.” The closed locations have already been removed from the David Barton Gyms website.
The gym promotes its club- and loungelike atmosphere with the hashtag: #LookBetterNaked. "We want you to forget the outside world while you are here," the website told visitors in explaining its mission. "It is a landscape for the senses, carved out of imagination and built to get your heart racing before you ever step onto the treadmill."
Members, especially those who have signed contracts through the end of 2017, have taken to social media to vent their anger over the closures that came out of nowhere.
“Did you seriously shut down with no notice to members? Nice, after you just charged me for a yearly membership,” Kelly Morgan wrote.
“I paid in full for membership and classes till December 2017 plus 10 personal trainer classes you just sold to me a few weeks ago,” Edgardo Alifano wrote. “No one has contacted me to let me know how I will be reimbursed.”
Former Boston trainer Aj Avitabile wrote that he branched out into his own business after seeing clients get double charged. “David Barton Gym are crooks and unprofessional,” he added.
The gym’s namesake, David Barton, who opened the first gym in 1992, left the fitness empire he created in 2013.
David Barton Gyms were located at Boston Park Plaza and in New York at 152 Christopher St., 4 Astor Place, 30 E. 85th St. and inside Limelight at 656 Sixth Ave.