The New Milford Fitness & Aquatics Club, at 130 Grove Street, will officially open July 1 under new ownership.
This 40,000-square-foot fitness center, previously the New Milford Sports Club, is on its way to becoming a premier regional fitness center again. The club closed abruptly in May when state police charged its former owner with failing to pay nearly $50,000 in wages to employees.
After taking over the business and building recently, and purchasing the property for an undisclosed amount, the new owners Susan and Lou Pereira, Michelle and Mike Nahom, and Belinda and Ed Bourjeili have already made extensive renovations and repairs to the interior of the building.
The couples, all New Milford residents with deep roots in the community, have thoroughly cleaned the fitness center from floor to ceiling, painted the entire facility, moved the spin room, changed the yoga room, resurfaced the floors and pool deck, and returned a racquetball court that had been removed.
Susan Pereira said that all of the exercise equipment – including Matrix treadmills, bikes and rowers – has been serviced and repaired, and the free weights in the weight room came with the building.
Mayor David Gronbach said he was pleased to see such progress.
“The interior work will help freshen up the space and ultimately lead to a better experience for customers,” he said. “I am especially eager to have the pool opened again as we don’t have many options in town.”
Susan Pereira said they changed the name of the fitness center to “hype up the pool and aquatics programs that are offered.” The four-lane, 25-yard lap pool, therapy pool and hot tub attract swimmers. Swim lessons and water aerobics classes are offered, and swim teams practice at the club.
The new owners will continue to improve the pool area and plan to unveil an outdoor boot camp.
Carlson Therapy will retain its location in the building where it rents space and uses the pool.
The club plans to offer more than 40 classes each week. Some of the returning favorites are spinning, boxing, yoga, LesMilles body pump and Barre class.
There will be towel service and toiletries provided for all members.
The Executive Locker will have amenities including laundry service, an overnight locker, fresh fruit, lemon water and coffee.
Additional service options include childwatch for young children while their parents work out, massage sessions and a nutrition bar.
Kathryn Smith of Southbury, who taught Pilates classes and a senior aerobics class at the Club for almost 10 years, is one of more than 20 former employees hired by the new owners.
“I can’t wait to get started,” she said. “It was like a mini reunion of employees. It will be nice to see all the former members when they start returning.”
The owners hope employees of the former club, who haven’t already found new jobs, will come back. They will continue to hire staff and instructors as needed.
The owners said they do not plan to draw a salary as the club gains its footing. Susan Pereria said membership money will be invested in the business until the gym is to their standards.
The three couples will be involved with the New Milford Fitness & Aquatics Club. Their roles are being defined.
Susan Pereira began exercising at the club 20 years ago when she was pregnant with her son. She progressed to a motivational spin instructor and was a special events manager. She’ll continue with “The Spin Lady” classes and will be the floor manager and customer service point person.
Belinda Bourjeili was the former club’s office manager for almost 20 years. She will continue to be the business manager with human resource responsibilities.
Michelle Nahom is a marketing professional and owner of a food blog that offers healthy and easy recipes. She will be responsible for the club’s marketing and social media needs.
Established in 1999, Lou Pereira owns Preferred Building Maintenance, a local commercial cleaning and janitorial services business.
Ed Bourjeili and Mike Nahom co-own Eastern Connector Specialty Corporation, a value-added distributor of industrial and electrical products for over 20 years.
Community involvement is important to the owners and they’re athletic.
Mike Nahom is a volunteer assistant coach with the New Milford High School track program. He and his wife are runners.
Lou Pereira and Mike Nahom met while coaching youth soccer and they have been friends for 15 years. Both men continue to volunteer and coach youth and high school soccer. Ed Bourjeili is the Vice President of the youth wrestling program in New Milford.
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Article and photo are by Alicia Sakal. This feature originally appeared online on June 23, 2017 and on the Business front page in the June 24, 2017 edition of Republican-American, a regional daily newspaper in 36 towns and cities in Litchfield County and Greater Waterbury, Connecticut.