Fit Women, or Naive Women?
Since I first reported almost a year ago that Peter (the Duke of) Earle was--like a bad Asian flu--returning to the Happy Valley, the pending business went into hibernation. But now, thanks to a cheap banner hung in the doorway, it seems the fledgling fitness business is actually going to open its doors.
Usually when a business says"coming soon" and then ten months later still has not opened, it's a town thing (that Amherst is so well noted for) getting in the way: inspection services, permitting or zoning board issues. But in this case it simply appears to be on the developers end, probably a lack of financing.
After all, Peter Earle gave up a Gold's Gym franchise (to save money) and then went out of business as The Leading Edge Gym at that location, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding bills. And then a couple years later went out of business as the Leading Edge Gym in Greenfield, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding debts.
Anyone sense a pattern here?
At least the Mass Attorney General did get involved over unpaid employee wages at the Amherst location and those debts were, finally, paid; but hundreds of consumers were left holding an empty gym bag and they were never reimbursed for lost memberships.
Back in the early 1980s, because of shoddy business practices like this, the state passed a consumer protection law requiring new fitness businesses to acquire an insurance bond to cover memberships in case they go out of business.
The law was never really enforced, but never repealed.
The final occupancy permit issued by Amherst to any new start up business has a boiler plate clause saying the operation will abide by all state and local laws. The town could cite/enforce that consumer protection law before allowing Mr. Earle to open.
Or at the very least, require him to make good on all the membership he previously defaulted on.
Lousy way to sell your used equipment