08:00 Wednesday 06 March 2013

Women's gym run out of town by economic chill

Written byADRIAN JENKINS

John Crossley getting in the gym with Michele Elizabeth who is training for a national bodybuilding championships John Crossley getting in the gym with Michele Elizabeth who is training for a national bodybuilding championships

A WOMEN’S gym has closed after five years – muscled out of the leisure industry by the harsh economic climate.

Two full-time staff and more than 200 members were left out in the cold when Felines closed its doors in Moor Street, Burton, for the final time on Friday.

Its parent company, Felines Ltd, is expected to be liquidated shortly after racking up liabilities amounting to five figures.

Owner Michele Elizabeth said: “The business has become untenable due to the economic climate.

“When January, normally our best trading month, was hit by bad weather, plus two break-ins and declining member support, it was the final straw.”

She said the company had failed to seal a deal for a larger and more affordable studio after searching since early last summer.

Felines was now nearing the end of its Moor Street lease and the landlord had secured another tenant, preventing the club from staying put.

Miss Elizabeth said she had funded her business for the past two years without drawing a salary and now stood to lose almost £50,000.

“With hindsight this was neither smart nor sensible,” she said.

“It certainly wasn’t done with my own personal gain in mind but was done from the heart, with good intention and a strong positive belief.

“The members have a vision I fleeced the club – but I really didn’t.

“I haven’t made a penny and I don’t feel I warrant the backlash I may get.”

Miss Elizabeth said members who paid by standing order, the majority, would get their March payments back.

However, she admitted the ‘small minority’ who had paid annual subscriptions would lose out.

Miss Elizabeth said Felines had not had the luxury of backing from a large leisure firm or grants.

She praised the ‘valiant’ efforts of her staff and thanked members for all the support they had given the club since December 2007.

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