S Clubs, the gym on Seventh Avenue and Union Street, closed down earlier this month after prolonged financial difficulties, among other issues. Intriguing news, though: The gym will be re-opening, under new management, at 5:30 AM on Tuesday, May 1st.
The new owner is a local named Michael Carlin, who was hired as Senior Membership Advisor for the club late last year and jumped at the opportunity to buy it from the previous owner, Nick Kotsonis.
Carlin reached out by email, and offered his plans for the space and shed some light on what went wrong the previous time around. Here's the full message:
"My plan for Slope Fitness is to bring back the original experience to the members of the community.
There was a breakdown in the prior management team, actually the last two. What made matters worse was that the last consulting manager was positioned to take over the business from Mr. Kotsonis, and he did not. He left the entire staff holding the bag of the mess he created. Myself and a few other key employees were placed in charge of doing the unfortunate thing of having to close the club.
With that said and done, Mr. Kotsonis kept me on to reconcile all members that are owed refunds. The common way of handling a club closing is to have the members file a claim because the owner is bonded and insured under NYS law. Mr. Kotsonis wanted to spare people that additional hardship, so that is why even as today we have already issued over $50,000 in refunds and the club has only been closed 2 weeks.
Don't be mistaken, closing the club for owner was not an easy decision, but he had been pouring money into a failing business month after month for over 2 years. So I understand why he made the decision he did, but I have been in the industry for over 20 years and I have never come across a more caring individual who is so involved in the community.
It should be noted that a very large corporate health club made a very lucrative offer once they heard of the closing. Mr. Kotsonis did not even entertain that idea because he believes so strongly in preserving the historic feel of the neighborhood.
In my last day as the Senior Membership Advisor, I tried to bring in an investor to save S Clubs and its staff, including myself. This did not happen. However, after positive feedback from the past members in this smooth and quick transition, Mr. Kotsonis has given me the opportunity to become the new owner of the club, which with his blessing, I am bringing it back as Slope Fitness.
How will it be different? I believe in accountability. I believe in transparency. I want members to want to join the club, not buy a membership. Anyone can rent space in a "gym". I want the members to have a sense of belonging, a sense of community. Some programming changes - I want to bring back Mommy and Me Classes, Pre-teen Fitness after school programs, have on-going health fairs, community events and so much more.
In terms of a thank you to the community and the former members I am offering Lifetime Pricing for the first 500 members that join during the pre-sale. For example if you sign up for one year at $89 per month during the month of April, you pay $0 enrollment and you will be locked into that price for the entire time you are a member.
I spent nearly 15 years of my early adult life working in a community center, so I know the importance of good leadership and being there for your members. My members will have my personal email and cell phone number. I want them to know they don't need to leave a message or send an email that won't get answered. The most amazing thing I have discovered working here in Park Slope is just how tight knit this community is.
I am native Brooklynite, and I hope to earn the trust and respect of the community.
This new adventure in my life is about to begin and I am so grateful to Mr. Nick Kotsonis for giving me the opportunity to bring back his original vision for this club.
Make it a great day!