Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Ricardo Aranda, back, Guadalupe Garcia, middle, and Mauricio Garcia from Early Services move equipment into Decatur Athletic Club on Tuesday.
Man buys downtown gym, vows to honor old contracts
By Chris Paschenko
A tumultuous ownership change brought new life to Decatur's only downtown commercial workout facility, much to the delight of members who thought they were shortchanged.
Jeremy Goforth of Decatur purchased the Decatur Athletic Club and all its equipment after the previous owner, Dawn Hendricks, gave one week's notice to members, including those with prepaid contracts, that she was closing the club Dec. 8.
Byron Vann, who owns the building at 219 Second Ave. S.E. and operated the club for 20 years, reopened the gym the following day.
Goforth said Monday he intends to honor all contracts sold by Hendricks even though he stands to lose $7,500 in the deal.
"Some people paid as late as November for a full year," Goforth said. "And she kept the money, knowing she was going to close. I may see if some (members) will meet me in the middle, because (assuming the contracts) is going to hurt me. I'm going to try to work with them as much as I can."
Hendricks said Monday she sold no contracts after learning she would be required to vacate the premises.
"I didn't take money from anybody, knowing I was leaving," Hendricks said. "I've got a check somebody wrote me and haven't deposited it. I'm ripping it up."
Goforth said he's improving the gym by adding new Hammer Strength equipment, elliptical machines and treadmills equipped with flat-panel televisions.
"We're going to try to offer yoga, aerobics, spinning classes and personal one-on-one training," he said. "We're remodeling the lower level, bathrooms, tanning beds and everything."
Vann recently repaired the leaking roof, one of the issues Hendricks cited in leaving the gym.
Goforth said he is negotiating with Vann on the possibility of buying the building.
The club passed a visual inspection by the city Community Development Department last week.
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