When we last wrote about longtime local gym and fitness center Clubhaus Fitness, owner Stuart Walker had just announced that he would close his business in Fayetteville due to a drop in membership as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2020.
But as it happens, that wasn’t the end of the story for Clubhaus. In the last few years, the gym has been reborn in a new location on the campus at Mount Sequoyah.
It was an unexpected outcome for Walker, who at the time thought his days as a gym owner in Fayetteville were over. Walker announced his business wuld close in a heartfelt video posted on YouYube on Nov. 19, 2020. The plan at the time, he said, was to continue to operate his gym in Little Rock that hadn’t been hit as hard with pandemic-related cancellations. The Fayetteville facility – where Clubhaus got its start – would permanently close.
“We’ve done all we could through the COVID crisis, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the smartest thing for me and my family at this time is to close our Fayetteville location,” Walker said at the time back in 2020.
That video led to an outpouring of support from the gyms members, some of whom Walker said refused to stop paying for their memberships.
“We had folks that said, no, keep it active. I want to see if you land somewhere,” he said. “We have a really loyal core group.”
One of the members that Walker heard from after he announced the closure was Emily Gentry, President and CEO of Mount Sequoyah Center, who offered up some space to help get Clubhaus back on its feet.
Stuart and the Clubhaus crew moved into what they thought might be a temporary home in some then-empty buildings that had once served as a church. A couple years later, the gym is back to offering most of the amenities that were available on Dickson Street.
Walker said rebuilding the gym has been a gradual, but exciting process.
“We started in that building over there,” he said pointing to a smaller space on the north end of the property. “We’ve just been slowly adding things back ever since.”
The gym has taken over the sanctuary of what was once Trinity Methodist Church on the Mount Sequoyah Campus for HITT workouts, and staff have converted Sunday School areas and other facilities into yoga rooms, spin studios, cardio rooms, weight training areas and more.
“It’s a little different, but that’s kind of what’s cool about it,” Walker said. “I mean, there really isn’t anything else like it.”
The partnership with Mount Sequoyah also allowed Clubhaus to offer pool memberships to its members.
Walker said his plan is to continue to improve the facilities and add classes or amenities as his membership continues to steadily grow.
It’s all possible, he said, due to a faithful members that just wouldn’t let the beloved gym die.
“We really have some folks that I think would have followed us to Huntsville if that’s where we ended up,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here without them.”
The latest from the Flyer, straight to your inbox.
Our sponsors are what keep the Flyer flying. Please let them know you appreciate their support for our work.
Want to become a sponsor? Learn more.
> See all our sponsors
Local businesses are so important to our community.
Our goal is to work with small- to medium-sized businesses rooted in the community. To acheive this, we’ve developed affordable and effective advertising options for any budget. Several of our long-term packages cost less than $14 per day, including our popular sponsorship program.
To get started or for more information, call Dustin at 479-387-1002 or send us an email.
Material from the Associated Press is Copyright © 2022, Associated Press and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. See AP policy.