It’s taken longer than anyone anticipated — including owner Sanjiv Chopra of Zeus Fitness — but the massive, state-of-the-art fitness facility and newest location of the Gold’s Gym franchise has staked its claim on Oakdale, opening the 25,000 square foot building on Monday, Aug. 31.
And it’s as beautiful, well-equipped, and cutting edge as Chopra promised it would be back in November 2008 when the presale facility opened. To emphasize the point, Chopra stated 22 new members signed up on opening day, bringing the membership to more than 3,000.
From the cardio cinema, which boasts a true 7:1 theater to the dry and wet saunas, three-tier cardio area, a full dance studio for the Zumba and other cardio fitness classes, a cycling room, a protein and smoothie bar…the list goes on with amenities available to members.
Yet, as amazing as the facility is, Chopra realizes there are a few members who are displeased with the timeline and he addressed those issues.
Prior to the opening, factions within the community had expressed their displeasure with Gold’s Gym when they found they were paying for amenities that were not available to them due to the delayed opening of the larger facility. Rumors abounded on the reasons why the facility hadn’t opened, from failed inspections to asbestos contamination, but the true reasons were far more simple and simply a sign of the times.
“We had to tear the existing building down and rebuild. There were a lot of things that weren’t up to code,” Chopra explained of the East F Street location. “I don’t want to point fingers because that’s not going to do anyone any good but we had our plans submitted in October. A six- to 10-week process turned into a five month process.”
During the time that the gym was undergoing the rebuilding process, the former head building official unexpectedly vacated his position and new personnel stepped in, creating an unavoidable delay as the new person was brought up to speed in the new position.
“We’re not blaming the city,” Chopra said of the delay. “It was a change that they didn’t anticipate.”
Added to that was the shipping issues encountered due to a sluggish economy.
“We’ve had a waterfall on order for the front for 18 weeks,” Chopra said. “But they won’t ship until they have a full load.”
Similar problems arose when they were trying to equip the gym with the new equipment.
“We can’t open without equipment but there was nothing we could do about it,” Chopra said. “Seventy percent of our members chose to freeze their membership until the new facility opened and we were happy to do that.”
Chopra continued, saying, “I felt horrible about it (the delay). We started giving out gifts, not because we had to but because we wanted to show good faith. No one wanted to open more than us. We still have the same investment and it hurt financially to only have the presale facility open.”
In addition, Chopra joined the Chamber of Commerce, made a donation of a weight set to the Oakdale High football program, and is continuing to look for opportunities to become more invested in the community, he said.
“I love what we do,” Chopra said. “We are 200 percent vested in this business and we’re not going anywhere.”
The wait is over and although there may be hard feelings still felt by some, Chopra is confident if they come and see what the facility has to offer, those feelings will be replaced with pride.
“We have members with our Modesto club who want to switch because this facility is so amazing,” Chopra said.
One of the amenities is childcare, which is monitored by a CPR-certified Gold’s Gym employee and according to Zeus Fitness LLC manager, Bobbi Sargenti, identification is checked at drop-off and pick-up.
There is much that is included in the membership fee but some of the amenities that are offered for an extra cost are the childcare, state-of-the-art hydra massage and personal training.
For more information on a membership, call Gold’s Gym at 848-0348.