Customers of local fitness and tanning franchise Tan & Tone America are feeling burned after the company suddenly closed nearly all of its locations.
Signs were posted outside Oklahoma City metro-area Tan & Tone locations Monday morning, thanking customers for their business and giving them the news. Members were fuming at the unused membership fees they've paid.
Cynthia Bootz said that, two months ago, she purchased new, yearlong memberships for herself and her mother — at a cost of more than $800. She shared her frustration alongside other customers who showed up at the Midwest City location Monday morning to find it closed.
“If we would have known this could have been coming, we would have done month-to-month and not been out this kind of money,” she said.
Brandy Matthews, of Yukon, said her monthly membership fee was deducted from her bank account Thursday, so she was surprised to hear from a co-worker that the business had closed. A member for four years, she also had purchased extra credits to use different tanning beds.
The company had been in business for 26 years. It employed 200 and reported annual sales of $7 million in May 2011, according to Dun & Bradstreet Inc.
According to its website, Tan & Tone had 16 locations, including five in Oklahoma City, two each in Edmond and Norman and one each in Yukon and Midwest City.
Four independently owned franchises in Chickasha, Ponca City, Stillwater and Ardmore remained open Monday, and the website's list of locations was updated Monday.
Statement on website, doors
Attempts to reach owner Ed Shelby and his wife, Becky Shelby, were unsuccessful Monday. Calls to their home and corporate office were not returned. No one answered the door at their home in northwest Oklahoma City.
In a statement on the Tan & Tone America website, and taped to the front door of each shuttered location, the owners said revenues have continued to decline despite their best efforts.
“We have exhausted every possible financial resource to save the company, including the value of our personal life insurance and retirement funds, but we were still unable to establish the necessary capital for the company's survival. This weekend we received financial advice from several sources and unfortunately we have been advised that the company is no longer viable,” the statement reads.
At least one business was eager to offer displaced customers an alternative. A representative from Mademoiselle Ladies Fitness & Weight Loss sat outside the Tan & Tone corporate office Monday, handing out free passes to women as they approached.