The torrential rains that decimated southern Louisiana in mid-August left four Anytime Fitness locations completely inoperable. None of the affected clubs had flood insurance, but help is on the way through Anytime Fitness, Woodbury, Minnesota.
Anytime Fitness co-founders Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen made personal donations of $5,000 each to each of the four franchisees, totaling $40,000, and each of the affected franchisees has a GoFundMe page to raise money for equipment replacement, reconstruction, lost wages, reopening, moving and storage costs, and lost income from membership fees, according to Anytime Fitness spokesperson Mark Daly.
Phil Sondes has owned the Anytime Fitness in Denham Springs, Louisiana, since January 2005. After the flooding receded, he and his landlord tried to save some of the fitness equipment by putting some of it outside the club. Unfortunately, someone took two of the three pieces, he said.
None of Sondes' office belongings could be saved.
Sondes' home, which houses seven people and two dogs, is a mess, too. He had almost completed redoing walls damaged by March flooding when the recent round of floods happened.
"We were just getting ready for paint," he said. "I have to keep asking myself, 'Do I do gym stuff today or home stuff today?'"
Sondes said he appreciates Anytime Fitness setting up the GoFundMe page, but he said that people in his area—the ones most likely to donate—are dealing with their own flooding challenges.
"I'm going to guess that 75 percent of my members are affected from the flood, so we're all begging for the same thing," Sondes said. "There are stories that are going to be worse than mine."
Sondes' goal is to reopen in 60 days, but he said that even if that happens, he will still be negative $24,000.
The three other Anytime Fitness locations closed due to flooding are:
- Albany, Louisiana – owned by Norman and Mallory Bonck
- Robert, Louisiana – owned by Tracie and Jimmie Spallino
- Walker, Louisiana – owned by Kenny and Tina Knaps
An outgoing phone message at the Walker location, presumably the voice of owner Kenny Knaps, said, "We received some flood damage like most of you in the area and are working hard to get the gym back in shape."
Club Industry was unable to reach the other franchisees, but Kenny Knaps posted a video on Aug. 17 on his club's Facebook page in which he said that he would charge members for the next two months as the club gets cleaned and prepared to reopen but that members could still use any other club in the country during that time.
A post from Aug. 20 on the Robert club's Facebook page showed some of the flooding and the cleanup efforts at that location.
Members of the Anytime Fitness clubs affected by flooding can visit any other location while their regular clubs attempt to rebuild.