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Exercise club closes suddenly

by Mellisa Murphy, staff writer

Aside from fitness equipment, the 3,200-square-foot ClubSpa suite is unlit and vacant. The door is locked and the telephone disconnected.

A brief note on the glass door at 1628 Highway 88 reads:

“Dear ClubSpa members, we regret to inform you that ClubSpa has closed as of August 9, 2000. Please check your mail. Best wishes, Stacey and Wendy.”

The closure of the spa caught many off-guard. The business opened on Nov. 30, 1998, with great hopes for the future.

The entry way to the fitness center is now littered with a rolled up newspaper and notes from customers slipped under the door, some seeking reimbursement for gift certificates, some just wondering where to find a yoga class in the wake of the closure.

Attempts to contact ClubSpa owners Stacey and Wendy Erven-Smalley were unsuccessful. Their Gardnerville telephone number is no longer in service.

Among ClubSpa members, reactions are mixed.

“They were acting as though nothing was going on, up until the last day,” said a member who asked not to be identified. “You expect something like this in big cities, or California, not here.”

“I’m shocked and surprised,” said Steve Fargan, who has been a ClubSpa member for over a year. “I guess they (the Smalleys) owe me a week’s worth of membership fees, but I’m more concerned with what happened. And I’d love to get a hold of Dennis, the yoga instructor.”

n Refund. Ray Lummus and his daughter received a letter from the Smalleys with personal refund checks.

“Ray was sad to see it go,” wife LeAnne Lummus said. “He really enjoyed going there.”

Perhaps the most bewildered are ClubSpa employees.

“I don’t know exactly what happened, I got there and it was closed,” said ClubSpa aesthetician Rosa Maria Rubio. “They (the Smalleys) didn’t tell us anything. They just left.”

Massage therapist Cynthia Overacker’s reaction is one of sadness and empathy.

“The closure is sad for me,” she said. “It was an honor working in such a beautiful place, with all the attention to detail. Customers loved it there.”

She seemed most concerned about the Smalleys.

“ClubSpa was Wendy’s dream,” she said. “She worked so hard. Sometimes it’s hard for a young couple starting out financially. Though they didn’t handle it in a good way, they probably just felt overwhelmed and said to themselves, ‘Let’s cut our losses.'”

A letter to customers, postmarked Aug. 8, expressed amiable parting thoughts and a brief apology, but gave no explanation of the circumstances leading to or surrounding the closure.

n Active. The Smalleys, new parents of an infant son, were active members of the community, involved in the Soroptimists and Rotary Club. Stacey Smalley had applied for a position with the Ranchos General Improvement District Board in December.

Yoga classes with ClubSpa instructor Dennis Parsons have been rescheduled to Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m., located in the upstairs conference room at the Minden Medical Center, beginning Aug. 22, said member Jill Mustacchio.

Clients can reach Overacker at 887-1523.