Maggie Nicholson
Lobby entrance inside the West Seattle Fitness Club, formerly Allstar Fitness. The club's previous owners filed for bankruptcy and subsequently sold the business to a former NFL player with the Seahawks, Sam Adams and his brother Jeremy who also own six other athletic clubs. They said all previous memberships will be honored and problems addressed.

All Star Fitness changing to West Seattle Fitness Club under new ownership following financial meltdown

Most prepaid memberships will be honored say new owners

By Maggie Nicholson

Allstar Fitness opened its doors in West Seattle over twenty years ago. The gym became deeply engrained in the small community, hosting yoga and cycling classes, offering a kid’s club filled with colorful toys, greeting its members with its monumental glass walls and offering a warm fireplace to lounge in front of between workouts.

In August of 2012, the fitness club quietly filed for bankruptcy. Then-owner Bob Padgett was ordered by the court to notify his members, and he did not swiftly comply.

“They seemed extremely happy to push me to prepay for a year --"a much better deal!" -- when clearly someone, somewhere, there knew they would be filing for bankruptcy,” said member Anne Hurley.

Trustee Richard Hooper composed an announcement of the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing, which was passed out as a flyer to the club’s members as they moseyed in to take a swim or take a class, in February of 2013. Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy allows the business to seek relief in the form of re-organization or a changing of ownership.

Hooper’s flyer outlined his hopes and plans for the club’s speedy and painless transition. He announced that there were already a handful of interested buyers, all of whom had the best interests in mind for the club’s members.

The most troubling lines from February’s flyer follow:

‘If you have questions about amounts owed to you as an investor or for any other reason you may want to consult an attorney. I cannot give legal advice or discuss any pending legal issues.’

Those who invested sums of money into the fitness club now face a pressing legal battle. Investors are being handled in the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court, under the jurisdiction of Judge Karen Overstreet. Members who are not investors in the company are likely to carry their memberships with them into the new ownership.

Former Seahawk NFL player Sam Adams and his brother and business partner Jeremy, now co-own what was, until recently, Allstar Fitness. Sam and Jeremy own a company called Oregon Athletic Clubs, which oversees six fitness clubs: four in Oregon and two in Washington. Jeremy says the brothers will be based out of the West Seattle club. The president of Oregon Athletic Clubs, Don Pak, is a West Seattleite himself. The brothers are hands-on owners, and as Jeremy led me around the fitness club, fondly presenting its amenities and pointing out the small and specific areas he intends to fix and better, this became clear.

The two have also made it apparent that they hope to honor and carry over as many current and ‘legal’ memberships with the club as possible. The definition of what is a ‘legal’ membership was determined very recently and is still undergoing individual case attention.

The following clarifications regarding individual member statuses under the new company’s ownership were announced in a flyer.

‘The West Seattle Athletic Club will be honoring all prepaid memberships that expire on or before December 31st, 2014. If you have a membership that expires after December 31st 2014, please contact us at memberservicesWSAC@oaclubs.com. If we do not hear from you, a representative will be in contact with you to discuss your membership on an individual basis.’

Members were also told that despite their status as outlined above, all amenities and use of the club remain open to them, without regard to the listed contractual rejections, until all contracts have been reviewed and each member has had the chance to discuss their situations individually with the new ownership.

According to Jeremy Adams, the number of members whose contracts do not immediately carry over into the new club is quite small, around thirty people. As far as the predicament the investors with the previous company face, Jeremy looked distraught, shaking his head and saying how much he hates to see anyone taken advantage of, which is what the situation now looks like. He and Sam hope to do whatever they can do for the members of the old club who were also investors.

“I assume my membership will stay intact through the contract I signed or expect a prorated refund as well. Hoping the new owners plan to invest in fixing all the cardio machines that don't work or updating altogether. It seems no action is being taken on keeping the machines running at this point - assume this is because of the bankruptcy,” said member Jenna Buckley of the club’s transitional condition.

Jeremy says they inherited many problems from the prior owner: a number of broken machines, discoloration on some of the walls, and the out-of-commission spa. These are the issues the brothers began working on as soon as they took up ownership, and these problems will soon be remedied, before the integration of new amenities or classes. One future addition will be the integration of classes from the Les Mills programs.

The new name of the club will be the West Seattle Athletic Club, the logo for which is already finished and can be found as a header on paper flyers currently throughout the club. A new sign is under construction, and will soon be placed above the entrance doors.

Jeremy and Sam hope to go paperless in the future, displaying club notices on a televised screen as opposed to pasting paper flyers throughout the lobby.

“We’re green, and a number of the products we use at our gyms are also green,” said Sam Adams. “We’re trying to do our part, as best we can. We’re excited about being here, and about being part of the West Seattle Community.”

The brothers offered to take on everyone that had been employed with Allstar. Not everyone decided to come on with the new ownership, but most did, glad not to have been thrown into the rough waters of unemployment as a result of Allstar’s prior mishaps.

“The members here, they’re really humble,” said Jeremy Adams. “They only ask for what they need. Sounds cheesy, but it warms our hearts. They’ve been happy and receptive and we want to give them what they ask for. We want the culture here to stay the same, and for everyone to enjoy their company here as much as we do.”

Members are encouraged to call the fitness club’s number at (206) 932-9999 with any questions regarding the new ownership.

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