Members of the Plainview Shopping Centre’s all-female Lucille Roberts are sweating at the prospect of finding a new gym after learning theirs would be closing down on Sept. 2.
The iconic gym, at the same location in Plainview for about 40 years, sent letters to all of its members alerting them to the situation, saying in part, “We are saddened to inform you that on Sept. 2, Lucille Roberts in Plainview will be closed indefinitely.” One member of the gym, who chose to remain nameless, said management told her that the landlord had doubled the rent and refused any negotiations.
A call to the gym confirmed the imminent closure, though the employee chose not to elaborate. She did however say that many crew members are now looking for new jobs. In the gym’s letter to members, the company said all memberships will be upgraded, granting access to other Lucille Roberts gyms. Lucille Roberts corporate office did not return a request for comment.
Joanne Franc, a Plainview resident and longtime member at Lucille Roberts, said that switching gyms is not an option for some of the older members.
“My fear is that they will not fit in at these other gyms that are co-ed,” she said. “Or they will not travel to another Lucille location as most dont drive that far anymore.”
But her concern for the closure goes beyond her need for a convenient gym within walking distance to her home.
“My main concern with this gym closing is that it serves older clients,” she said. “These women no longer work, most their husbands have passed and this is there time out everyday. They come they socialize, they get exercise. What is going to happen, is that you will find them becoming homebound and in declinging health.”
Franc said that she and other members would have been willing to pay a littler more per month in order to keep the gym from closing, but that option was never presented to members. Another member said losing Lucille Roberts in Plainview means losing a place where they can work out comfortably, while also helping the local economy.
“I for one, and there are least four or five others that I know about, enjoy the privacy of an all womens’ gym because we have made a personal commitment to ourselves to help our bodies recoup some of what was lost because of critical or life threatening illness,” said Lisa Stankus DeStefano.
Legislator Judy Jacobs, who said she has received letters and Facebook messages from concerned members, said that when the cost of operations increase, it is up to the business to either raise prices or close up shop.
When a landlord gets increases to the cost of doing business, they pass it onto the stores, who pass it onto the customers,” she said. “They [the landlord] doesn’t want a store as successful as this gym to leave. I have compassion and sympathy for the members, and I feel terrible that they are losing this gym.”
As for the Plainview business community at large, Jacobs said the closing of a local stalwart is unfortunate under any circumstances.
“Any time any icon business like this leaves the area, it is very sad,” said Jacobs. “And it’s going to hurt the surrounding stores, as you won’t have gym goers walking the shopping center, stopping for coffee or going shopping.”
Lucille Robert is the second iconic business to shutter this summer, as Boomy’s deli in the Woodbury Shopping Plaza closed last month.