WATCH: When VI Fitness closed its doors May 1st in a surprise bankruptcy it left thousands across Vancouver Island without their local gyms. In Campbell River, it put a family into race mode to save what they’d built 25 years earlier. Skye Ryan reports.
The relief in Campbell River’s Lady Fit gym, that was pulled from the clutches of bankruptcy and being lost to this community, buzzes louder than the machines being exercised on again.
“I’m very excited to be here at Lady Fit,” said member Karen Lutz. “Being here I have a sense of belonging.”
“Yeah it’s still a miracle that this is all still here because nowhere else on the Island,” said Lady Fit’s Courtney Dystant. “All the VI Fitnesses are gone, everything’s auctioned off. It’s done.”
Here though the gym’s original owner from 25 years ago, when it was called Lady Fitness, swooped in to save the location.
It was going down with a wave of all eight VI Fitness locations on May 1st when the company filed a surprise bankruptcy and left thousands of gyms goers in shock across Vancouver Island.
“There was a bankruptcy notice in the window and I just felt oh,” recalled new owner Laurie Dystant. “I just felt horrible because whenever I drive by and stuff it’s still here. I was thinking I can’t let this go there will be so many people disappointed.”
So just before movers arrived to take the equipment away as happened at the other locations Laurie Dystant bought it from the bailiff, so her daughter in law Courtenay could run it,
keeping the gym in the family and Campbell River.
“It just made me so happy because when I was making this deal I was thinking with my heart,” said Dystant.
Now Courtenay Dystant and her husband Christopher’s daughters will grow up in the same gym, that he did from the age of five on.
“He walked in here that night and said now my girls are going to grow up here,” said Laurie Dystant.
“It’s just amazing how it’s all come full circle for our family,” said Courtney Dystant. “And I’m just so blessed to be able to have this opportunity to do this.”
The gym opened for the first time this week and remarkably, after what happened with VI Fitness, members have been signing on and filling classes.
This family’s long roots and reputation here are giving Campbell River’s women a reason to have faith and fitness once again.