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Future of Fitness Center in jeopardy

By Staff | Apr 9, 2009

We received an e-mail this week from Meta Goodwin, longtime owner of the Sanibel Fitness Center on Rabbit Road.

“It is with great sadness that we must inform you that SFC will be closing its doors at its present location effective Friday, April 24, 2009 after 19 years in business on Sanibel,” Goodwin began her message to friends, clients and patrons. “This earnestly and most stressfully belabored last resort is reached after finally and reluctantly acknowledging the insurmountable economic hardships, rising overhead costs and increased competition outside of our control that have been facing us for some time now.”

It’s a hard-to-swallow fact for most islanders to comprehend: a once-thriving business – which used to be the only place on Sanibel to provide cardio equipment, workout classes and a knowledgeable staff – would be facing the possibility of closing their doors due to circumstances that are essentially beyond their ability to control.

However, there is a glimmer of hope for fans and steadfast supporters of the SFC.

According to Goodwin, she is currently engaged in “an encouraging dialogue” with the city and the Sanibel Recreation Center regarding potentially being able to continue their current programs at the Rec Center facility. In addition, they are discussing the possibility of offering new special interest classes and discussion groups in conjunction with the Rec Center.

To that end, at the April 21 meeting of the City Council, Goodwin will be presenting her bid to reach an agreement with the city and the Rec Center for the continuation of their existing programs.

“We are asking for all our clientele’s presence and avid support on that date to show the Council that our programs, expertise and association with the city’s facility would only be a great and strongly encouraged boon to their venture,” Goodwin wrote in her e-mail.

To us, this seems like a very appropriate solution – not a cure-all, by any means – to assist a long-standing and community-minded business, which will be of benefit to both SFC clients and Rec Center members. We are sure that Goodwin and her staff would someday hope to return to their own private facility, but in the interim this solution appears to be an amicable “win-win” for both a 19-year business endeavor and the community which it has served.

“We strive to continue to offer the San-Cap community the highest professional fitness care for your continued well being, regardless of venue,” Goodwin added.

We agree.

– Reporter editorial