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Why this local gym owner had to get creative to reopen his business

Joe Goldberg's new idea was to move his indoor workout classes to the parking garage structure adjacent to TruFusion
Credit: SLBJ

CLAYTON, Mo. — When Joe Goldberg, owner of the TruFusion fitness center in Clayton, read an article recently that cited a Centers for Disease Control paper recommending against vigorous indoor exercise groups, he knew his business was in trouble. 

“We are 100% group classes,” he said. “The next morning I did my stress workout and I just kind of visualized this new idea.”

Goldberg’s new idea was to move his indoor workout classes to the parking garage structure adjacent to TruFusion, located at 7747 Forsyth Blvd. He reached out to his landlord — Washington University — and made the case that this was the only way his business would survive.

He closed TruFusion at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the closing, the fitness studio had roughly 1,850 members, as well as an additional 200-250 people that would use drop-in class cards. As the pandemic and closing went on, TruFusion’s memberships dropped 25%. 

“We chose to freeze memberships when we closed,” Goldberg said. “Within two days, we started streaming live YouTube and Instagram classes. About a week in, we did reach out to our members and asked if anybody was in the position to support us, and somewhere between 15-18% chose to pay.”

After a conversation with his landlord, the landlord’s legal team and the Clayton mayor, Goldberg was given the okay to reopen TruFusion within a multi-level parking garage that sits adjacent to the fitness studio on June 15. He now offers 14 to 17 classes daily, compared with 28 before the pandemic. 

The parking structure typically houses about 400-500 of Washington University’s employees, who are currently working from home, Goldberg said. But even when those employees return to work, Goldberg said he will be able to use the top two floors of the parking structure for his fitness studio.  

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