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Members and Employees Experiencing Turbulent Transition from BAC to LA Fitness

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For some gym users in western New York, staying fit might look a bit different this year.

After LA Fitness bought out four of Buffalo Athletic Club’s coed sites last month in an effort to continue to expand its presence on the east coast, many club members and staff aren’t so enthused with the transition.

Since the transition began Dec. 23, one club manager told The Buffalo News that morale is down and almost a third of members have already cancelled their gym memberships. To make matters worse, former BAC salespeople may take pay cuts under the new LA Fitness commission and salary structure. 

“There are people who were making $60,000 to $80,000 a year who will be making mid-$20s to $30s now,” the manager told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity. “
We’re all looking for new jobs. It’s just such a drastic difference, you can’t live on it.”

Buffalo Athletic Club told its members in an online letter, that the saturation of the market made running coed clubs difficult to sustain, and the offer from the large chain fitness club was too good to pass up. 

“It got to the point with what they were offering that we couldn’t say no, as long as we got to keep our core business of women-only clubs,” Jeremy Heim, operation partner of Buffalo Athletic Club, told Bloomberg Businessweek.

BAC will continue to run four women’s only locations and one remaining coed gym after the transition to LA Fitness is completed Friday. At that time all remaining membership agreements at the former BAC locations will be locked in at LA Fitness.

The deal, which has not been disclosed by BAC, will allow the company to invest in a $2 million development of two of its remaining locations, according to The Buffalo News. The additions will consist of a 10,000-square-foot expansion that includes 5,000-square-feet in new aerobic space for fitness classes.

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