WOW Opens First Club after Fire

It’s been about 2 1/2 years since a fire erupted in the corporate club of Work Out World in Brick, NJ. The company has moved on since the fire, but it is still dealing with some repercussions.

Last October, Work Out World opened its new corporate office in nearby Wall, NJ. In December, the company opened a new 33,000-square-foot club in Wall separate from the corporate office.

This is the first club the company has opened since the fire, Work Out World owner Stephen P. Roma says. About 1,000 members from the club that had the fire have joined the new club, in addition to the 2,800 members the club generated in pre-sale, Roma says.

The new club is the 10th overall for the company, which has about 65,000 total members across all of the New Jersey clubs.

Roma says the company still owns the Brick location, which was damaged in July 2008 from a fire that started in the women’s sauna. That building is in the process of being sold, Roma says.

“The Brick club was close to my home, and some mornings in the summer, I’d ride my bike to work,” Roma says. “The Wall club is a little further away from my home, so I don’t have that opportunity. Once we sell the (Brick) building, it’s done, it’s history, it’s behind us.”

On the downside, Work Out World still has not received its business interruption insurance or its withheld depreciation, Roma says, resulting in litigation between Work Out World and the insurance carrier.

“The thing that’s so sad about it is if a single-club operator was placed into this position, they would basically be forced to crumble under the umbrella of not getting their money,” Roma says. “Fortunately, we’re able to withstand not having that business interruption income that we’re entitled to. Nonetheless, it’s just been a terrible experience for us to go through, going on 2 1/2 years and not have our business interruption income.”

Roma would not disclose the amount of money in question.

“The one thing the insurance carrier has on their side is time,” Roma says. “They’re not eager to pay, and the longer they don’t have to pay, their time value of money is more beneficial to them.”

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