After 16 happy years in the Lawrence Shopping Center, Empower Fitness Gym for Women permanently closed June 30, 2020. While the COVID pandemic was the tipping point, there are several factors that created a perfect storm:

  • Loss of revenue for four months as a direct result of the COVID pandemic with continued expenses.
  • Projected negative revenue for months after re-opening from the pandemic, resulting from customers fear/reluctance to use gym and purchase our products (massage, personal training, classes) at the usual rate, as well as the imposed COVID-related requirements for safe operation and those related costs.
  • When LA FITNESS gym opens, Empower Fitness gym is not allowed to remain in the shopping center. My plan had been to renew my lease for three more years with a co-owner. This was not possible, due to a contract requirement in which there can be no other fitness facility in the same shopping center with LA Fitness.
  • My grandchildren and the world as priorities. My grandchildren are growing up quickly and I don’t want to miss a minute. As well, the world is calling my name to fulfill my dream of serving in other cultures. I feel the time for these personal priorities is now.

This isn’t how I wanted to end the most joyful work experience of my life: being the owner and manager of Empower Fitness Gym for Women. And I firmly believe there is a market need for a women-only fitness facility. But much control is out of my hands. After intense reflection, I believe this is the right and responsible course of action. I ask for your understanding and support.

The words of “Thank You” to my treasured staff, family, members, friends and community supporters are insufficient to express what I’m feeling. It has been a great ride that has filled my heart with indelible memories. Be kind to yourself and others. Stay real and remember: “real women, real results, real connection.”

Joan Brame

Brame is the former owner and manager of Empower Fitness Gym for Women in Lawrence.