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'It's like a death in the family': Xanadu Health Club closes in Lakeshore

A Lakeshore fitness centre that was forced into the spotlight at the beginning of the pandemic is closing its doors for the last time on Friday.

It's an emotional day for Xanadu Health Club member Tom Karent.

"It's like a death in the family," says Karent.

He had one last workout at the gym he's attended five days a week for the last 10 years.

"The building, the people, it's just part of me,” says Karent. “You come somewhere every day. It grows on you."

All eyes were on Xanadu two years ago, when the local health unit listed the fitness centre publicly as a possible COVID-19 exposure, one of the first local businesses listed during the pandemic.

The owners telling CTV News within a five day span, 600 people withdrew their memberships, and they've never recovered since.

“Throughout the entire pandemic we were shut down for 51 weeks so essentially one year,” says general manager Tanya Dupuis. “I had a restaurant out front as well that opened one month before so it didn't make it either. So it's sad. People just haven't been returning that we hoped and unfortunately both restaurant and gym are volume-based businesses and we just aren't seeing that volume return.”Xanadu equipment sale in Lakeshore, Ont. (Source: Xanadu/Facebook)

Dedicated members say the gym not only helped with physical health, but mental health.

"It's one family. I'm going to miss them all," says member Betty Phillips.

Management says they feel the same way.

"We want to thank anyone who has ever been a member of Xanadu and we will miss you," says Dupuis.

The gym is refunding members who have paid in full and the monthly memberships were pro-rated.Xanadu message to members in Lakeshore, Ont., on Sept. 23, 2022. (Stefanie Masotti/CTV News Windsor)

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