September 30 is the day Dunlap Fitness owners Ashley Kitterman and Ben Lavallier said they would re-open their facility.
We visited their facility and it still appears to be abandoned.
Trimco Co-Owner Gary Blevins said, “We haven't heard from them since the first of the month and as you can see the building is still empty.”
All Blevins is left with is this nearly empty space and a broken lease agreement. He said, “I have a building that's empty that was leased for 5 years.”
Blevins rented his space to Kitterman and Lavallier, the owners of Dunlap Fitness. However, at the beginning of the month, Blevins said the owners moved their equipment out and locked the doors without warning.
According to the Dunlap Fitness website, the owners said they moved out to spray for bugs, and when Blevins entered the building without their permission they felt they could no longer trust him.
Still, Blevins and many gym members want answers. Blevins said, “"My biggest fear is that they're going to do this to other people that they're going to go open up another place and collect fees for work they haven't performed.”
At a meeting on September 12, members of Dunlap Fitness worked with Peoria County Sheriff’s Department to assess their losses. Several people said they paid hundreds of dollars for gym services, but still had hope the owners would stay true to their word.
Blevins said he could file a civil suit against the owners, but it would only cost him more money. He said he’s turning his efforts toward finding a new tenant. He said, “Hopefully another gym will open up, because there is a need here for it. They had a lot of clients.”
Kitterman and Lavallier turned down our request to go on camera, but they did send us this statement. They said, “Anytime a business closes there are disappointed people, none more than us. We have focused primarily on taking care of the clients who feel they are owed refunds before we even think about reopening.”
Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy said his department and State’s Attorney Jerry Brady are investigating the case.
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