Gym closure brings tears
Final workouts have been interspersed with hugs and tearful farewells as Palmerston North’s Configure Express women’s gym on The Square approaches its last days.
Following the liquidation of the national chain, gym owners Debbie and Steve Punnett will close their branch on Friday after the emotional and financial strain became too much.
The Punnetts said the announcement was met with an outpouring of love and support from members they’d come to consider as family.
‘‘They’d tried other gyms, but they never felt comfortable in their own skins. This gym was always more than just clients and staff,’’ Debbie Punnett said.
‘‘We had big dreams for our ladies. Configure was their space, not ours. The focus was on giving them a safe, friendly place where they could be themselves.’’
Six months after the Punnetts took over the franchise in 2015, it became clear that Configure was in desperate financial trouble.
‘‘We didn’t know we were entering a franchise that was already failing. There were 23 clubs when we started.‘‘
Punnett said they had kept a brave face for 18 months because they did not want their worries to invade the space they had built for their members.
Staff will be fully paid out, and members who are in credit will be refunded.
Punnett said the thing she would miss the most was the feeling she had made a real difference in the lives of the gym’s women.
‘‘This gym was always more than just clients and staff’’ Debbie Punnett
Palmerston North Configure Express gym owner Debbie Punnett was proud of the difference the gym made.