North Taranaki Midweek
Closing a tough exercise
After 15 months on the market, New Plymouth’s women-only gym Curves is closing and members are pinning their hopes on a last-minute saviour to keep their safe space going.
Curves opened in the city in 2007 and, with no mirrors, free weights and 30-minute sessions, it has offered a space for women to work out at their own pace and to feel comfortable while they do it.
After more than a year of trying to sell the business, owner Gill Lambert announced she was shutting the doors on December 21 unless a buyer could be found.
Within hours, members were approaching her in tears and sending emails and handwritten letters telling her how heartbroken they were.
One of those letters came from Cathy Lindsay, who joined the gym after a shoulder injury she suffered nearly 10 years ago.
She said during her time at the gym she had built solid friendships and a strength she wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Which was a similar story to Cecelia Stringer’s.
‘‘Curves is not only a gym, it is a hub of friendship and socialising.’’
Stringer has been a member for 12 years and said her main concern now was finding a gym that suited her the same way Curves had.
Sue Spannagl felt the same and after 16 years as a member she hoped someone would be willing to continue the business.
‘‘I am at a loss to know how I can possibly replace what Curves has provided for me. I am in my late 70s and am determined to keep fit and healthy,’’ she said.
‘‘We really need a women’s gym and wellbeing centre in this city; a place where women of all ages and levels of fitness can be comfortable, encouraged and feel part of a supportive community.
‘‘Perhaps there is someone out there who would like to take up the challenge.’’
Lambert bought the franchise in New Plymouth 16 years ago and said she took it on as an opportunity to help women in the community.
After spending more than a year trying to sell the business, Lambert said it wasn’t an easy decision to shut the doors.
‘‘It’s just time for me to stop,’’ she said.
‘‘I see this as a story started by me, but it’s really about the members wanting their gym to continue.
‘‘I have provided a space and facilitated the ability for this to happen, but it’s about my team and all the members coming on board and creating that community.’’