LYNDHURST, N.J.– Tarek Hassieb has tried to keep the Meadowlands Athletic Club in Lyndhurst alive through all kinds of setbacks: identity theft; Hurricane Sandy; competition; lagging sales and the economy.
And so, with a heavy heart, Hassieb is closing down the Chubb Avenue gym after five years.
Open 24-hours a day, five days a week, the club had roughly 1,700-1,900 members.
Yet “it's hard to stay relevant and competitive," Hassieb said, comparing it to "showcasing a three-legged dog."
"Its been one challenge after another," he told Daily Voice. "We’ve been underground in the trenches looking for daylight. It’s been a struggle. I put everything i have into this club and I have nothing left. I’ve exhausted everything. I did everything I possibly could to make it work.
“It's not something i want to do. It's something I'm forced to do.”
The 20,000-square-foot gym didn't have the newest equipment. Rather, Hassieb prided himself on customer service.
One of his customers, a retired cancer survivor came from East Brunswick – because “this is where he felt positive where he felt at home," Hassieb said.
Those kinds of relationships were “worth its weight in gold," he said.
“You want to be treated right. Very rarely do you ever get that," Hassieb said. "The people are what held the walls up, what supported this gym.”
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