TAMPA — Shapes gym is closing its location on Swann Avenue, according to some members, fueling reports that Trader Joe's plans to open a specialty grocery store at the site.
Club members said managers started telling people Monday night that the gym at 3808 W Swann Ave. will close, probably by the end of the month.
Gretchen Langlitz said she was told "they are 100 percent certain they are closing, most likely July 21 or 22." Members will get two weeks' notice and six months' free membership to another Shapes branch, she said. They also might be relocated to another gym in the area.
Mary Greacen, a member for decades, said she called the gym Tuesday morning and received confirmation. "This is the first time they have actually admitted that they are closing, but they wouldn't give me a date," she said.
She said she was told corporate officials would provide details and outline her options in a letter going out to members.
She said she went to the gym Tuesday night, however, and an employee told her things had changed and nothing was certain about the gym's future.
Shapes co-owner Vince Julien on Tuesday denied the gym was closing and said no deal has been reached with Trader Joe's. He said the club stopped selling memberships because of media reports about the grocer possibly opening on the site.
Trader Joe's hasn't commented on the Swann Avenue location but has said it is actively looking for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Architectural drawings filed with the city of Tampa and a bid document labeled "Trader Joe's/Tampa," however, point to the Swann address. Developers have applied for construction permits.
Plans call for building a 12,300-square-foot grocery store with 70 parking spaces. Construction could start July 25.
Some Shapes members have worried that the gym's closing would leave a void for many women in the community, particularly senior citizens who use the indoor, heated pool for exercise. It is unclear what will happen to people who signed lifetime memberships years ago.
Shapes has 10 locations in the Tampa Bay area.
Susan Thurston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 225-3110.