Elevate Fitness Closes; Clients Given Options at Fitness 19

Elevate Fitness Studio was vacant today after the facility closed its doors and removed all work...

Elevate Fitness Studio was vacant today after the facility closed its doors and removed all workout equipment.
One of Menifee's most popular businesses closed its doors permanently today, while its owner worked with a local competitor to make sure his clients have a viable option.

In just about two years, veteran trainer Paul David built Elevate Fitness into a successful alternative to traditional gyms in the area. From a small studio in a warehouse facility on Haun Road near City Hall, David catered to clients who preferred personal attention, dietary counseling and resistance training over a room full of weight machines.

Last summer, Elevate Fitness was named Medium-Sized Business of the Year by the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce. Recently, the business expanded into a second space at the same location. A loyal client base showed up for workouts as early as 5 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m., working with kettle bells and TRX pullies to build stamina and confidence.

But today, moving vans carried away the last of the equipment from Elevate Fitness. David, concerned that clients would show up to find a sign on the door, began calling them personally Tuesday night, telling them of his decision.

The sudden announcement caught virtually everyone by surprise. David told Menifee 24/7 the decision was both "personal and business." His wife Christine suffers from a gastrointestinal illness that has not been fully diagnosed. David said he anticipates taking her to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for long-term treatment.

"Christine's health is not doing good," David said. "It's been hard on us. Last week, she could barely eat and drink. When I leave at 4:30 a.m. and don't get home until 8 or 9 at night, it's hard to check on her and spend much time with her.

"The studio was going nicely, but finances were a challenge. I need more income if I'm going to get her into the Mayo Clinic. We've seen the specialists here and there isn't a consensus on what the problem is. I need other options to raise funding."

All small business owners know how difficult it has been to stay afloat. Although no one else in town offers the same kind of specialized fitness training, Elevate Fitness constantly felt the pressure from Menifee Fitness, a larger workout with more amenities on Bradley Road; and Quantum Fitness, another small gym just down the street on Bradley.

The announcement that a Fitness 19 club was coming to Menifee added another competitor. Concerned about the welfare of clients he considers family, David worked out a deal with Fitness 19 for Elevate Fitness clients to use the new facility on Newport Road free of charge until Feb. 15.

Fitness 19 is prepared to open and is only awaiting final approval from the city on electrical permits to open its doors, which could come as soon as next week.

According to Fitness 19 general manager Dean Hofmaster, the large facility located in part of the old Albertson's Market will include hundreds of workout machines, specialized equipment similar to what Elevate Fitness featured, and both personal and class training. Although the city permit process has delayed the opening, it will soon be open for both those who signed up during the summer with special rates as well as the Elevate Fitness clients.

"This is gut-wrenching," said David, who said the financial situation played a big role in his decision to close so suddenly. "This place has meant a lot to our clients."

One of those clients -- local businessman, TV and radio host Denis Nurmela -- had high praise today for David and Elevate Fitness. He is working with other clients to maintain contact and ensure they continue to work toward their goals.

"Paul David is a pillar in our community," Nurmela said about David, who previously served as president of the Rotary Club and was involved in many commmunity issues. "We have worked together on community projects benefiting the Menifee Cupboard and many others. He also helped me lose 30 pounds at Elevate Fitness Center, along with his top notch instructors.

"Elevate members have become much more than friends. There was a feeling of family at Elevate that still exists. It is very sad that this downed economy and highly competitive fitness industry in Menifee have taken its toll on such a wonderful organization."

All is in readiness for Fitness 19 to open its doors as soon as next week. Only a final permit from the City of Menifee is needed.


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