[Update and corrections: 1:50 p.m. ET - This story was updated with more specific information from Mike Alpert who also noted corrections on membership pricing, dues drafted and refunding details.]
The Claremont Club, Claremont, California, has closed its doors permanently, Claremont Club CEO and President Mike Alpert announced in a letter to members and on the company’s website and social media platforms.
The closure was effective Aug. 1.
Founded in 1973 by Stan Clark, the business is still owned by the Clark family, who plan to sell it. The company had 256 employees, 10,000 members and $14.9 million in gross 2019 revenue, according to an article by the Daily Bulletin. About 90 percent of its members agreed to have their dues drafted in April and May, but the club only drafted dues in April. Dues run $134 per month for singles, $205 for couples and $251 for families. The club received $1.65 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
But all of that was not enough. The financial costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of about 1,200 memberships during the closure made continued operations impossible, the letter to members stated.
In a letter to staff that Alpert shared with Club Industry, he wrote: "I want you to know that I did everything in my power to avoid this and to be able to continue operations, including exhausting every possible option with our bank and with government assistance."
He promised staff that he will do what he can to help them in their job searches, calling the group "the most dedicated and talented managers and staff in the fitness industry."
Over the years, the owners had received several offers to buy the club, which sits on 19 acres and had 27 tennis courts and two swimming pools, but they turned down each. Their intention was to operate the club and pass it onto their children, Alpert told Club Industry.
Now, the club will likely be sold to a developer, Alpert told the Daily Bulletin. It is off the 210 Freeway just 30 miles east of Los Angeles.
Under Alpert’s leadership, which began 23 years ago, The Claremont Club expanded into working in the wellness sector and provided programs for people recovering from cancer, spinal cord injuries and those dealing with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
The owners will refund remaining dues owed from April. They also will refund any pre-paids from summer camps not held, personal training, Pilates and private swim lessons as soon as possible but no longer than when the property is sold with refunds going to members prior to any distributions taken by the owners, Alpert told Club Industry.
Clubs in California were originally mandated to close on March 16 to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The Claremont Club began offering online classes during that time.
On June 15, The Claremont Club reopened after clubs in the state were allowed to do so upon approval by their county. At that time, It required that members reserve a 45-minute session in the weight room, which was allowed to have only 30 people in it at a time. Starting in early July, members and staff had to wear masks and gloves at all times, even while exercising unless they were using the pool, playing tennis or doing group exercise outside, per a mandate from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The club’s staff fogged the weight room twice daily, according to a video on its Facebook page.
On July 13, the California governor ordered all gyms closed again in 30 of California’s 58 counties, including Los Angeles County where the Claremont Club is located, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.