Movers could be seen at the Courtenay location on Wednesday morning. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Movers could be seen at the Courtenay location on Wednesday morning. Photo by Scott Strasser.

VI Fitness files for bankruptcy

A fitness company with eight gyms located across Vancouver Island has filed for bankruptcy.

According to a statement on its website, VI Fitness Centres Inc. filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, May 1 and has permanently closed all its locations.

“Despite the company’s best efforts, our business model was no longer sustainable due to an increasingly competitive landscape,” reads the statement.

“We can no longer afford to keep the business operating at a loss. We sincerely regret the impact our closure will have on our members, employees and business partners, and truly appreciate their support over the years.”

The statement recommends that patrons and employees of VI Fitness contact the Bowra Group, a licenced insolvency trustee firm in Vancouver.

VI Fitness had four locations in Greater Victoria, two in Nanaimo, one in Courtenay, and one in Campbell River.

A moving company could be seen at the Courtenay location on Wednesday morning, emptying the gym of cardio equipment. Signs pinned to the gym’s door explained the bankruptcy situation and told employees to contact the Bowra Group about possible recovery of unpaid wages.

According to personal trainer and fitness instructor Carol Hardy, who worked there, employees were only notified of the bankruptcy around midnight the night before. She said the Courtenay facility employed “three personal trainers, [and] probably six people at the front desk,” as well as 10 or 12 group fitness instructors.

She believed the gym — which opened in 2004 — had “hundreds” of patrons.

“Obviously we’re very disappointed and really sad,” said Hardy. “Sorry to have lost a job, but more sorry about missing all the ladies who come here every day. So many success stories.”

Many VI Fitness patrons throughout Vancouver Island only learned about the bankruptcy when they arrived for morning workouts on Wednesday. On the Courtenay gym’s Facebook page, some patrons wrote that they had already paid their membership fees for May.

One patron told Black Press she paid $39.90 a month, with an Island Health employee discount.