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Sunday, July 21

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vise77 / September 6, 2007 4:08 PM

What I think is I never realized so many people in Chicago could have a deep emotional attachment to a gym. How funny. And some people say America is a superficial culture.

I feel bad for people who got ripped off, though.

vise77 / September 6, 2007 4:08 PM

What I think is I never realized so many people in Chicago could have a deep emotional attachment to a gym. How funny. And some people say America is a superficial culture.

I feel bad for people who got ripped off, though.

holden / September 6, 2007 4:27 PM

I say...join the YMCA!!!
no contracts, family friendly, no one is turned away for financial reasons and you are helping out a good cause!

carrie / September 6, 2007 4:34 PM

I think it sucks for the people! Most people choose a gym that is convenient to get to, so if Cheetah was your choice, then that stinks. It sucks to get roped into a contract at another gym, possibly pay more, etc. Plus, you kind of make friends at the gym. Like not nec exchange numbers, but people you see on a regular basis that are this part of your life and then suddenly you don't have a workout buddy anymore. I dunno, if I still went to the gym and they suddenly closed, I'd be mad.

Vise-- I don't think going to the gym makes you superficial, some people do actually go so they're healthy.

eric / September 6, 2007 4:36 PM

Theft at one location required shutting down all three? It seems there's more going on than what's in the letter.

I'm mainly concerned that Cheetah's shutdown will probably make my gym more crowded. To all Bucktown Cheetah ex-members: you can workout for free at the little exercise area at Cortland and Wolcott!

editorkid / September 6, 2007 4:43 PM

I find myself strikingly unopinionated. I do hope the affected people get their money back (and successfully protect their financial and personal information), though.

The Cheetah story does juxtapose nicely with the situation in which the entitled well-heeled people who lined up days before the iPhone went on sale, to spend too much money for a phone that also plays music, whined about being "ripped off" to the point where the company is handing out $100 vouchers to these sad, spoiled brats. That was just an astonishing display of greed and hypocrisy in action.

eric / September 6, 2007 4:47 PM

Yeah, I would've joined the Y if my girlfriend didn't belong to another.

My hunch is that some other company will buy up the whole kit and kaboodle of cheetah gyms. Ex-Cheetah members may not be left hanging for too long. I'll bet you could buy 'em for a song, relatively speaking, of course.

eric / September 6, 2007 4:50 PM

"...if my girlfriend didn't belong to another."

Gym. Another gym.

eric / September 6, 2007 4:53 PM

"...if my girlfriend didn't belong to another."

Gym. Another gym.

spook / September 6, 2007 5:02 PM

I work out at the "Y", I'm headed over there now, of course they don't have a "hotbod" class, but I think I will do o.k with out

p.s I really enjoyed the Haiku sesson yall!

move it or lose it, literally / September 6, 2007 5:57 PM

I dance and I'd be bummed if my school just up and closed it's doors, esp. since I just paid for a bunch of classes in advance, so I can see why people are freaking out.

I don't think this compares with greedy phone buyers. Movement and excercise is what keeps me from going stark raving mad, and I imagine that's the case for a lot of folks. Some people need to pay for it otherwise they don't do it.

um... excercise I mean.

JohnnyQ / September 6, 2007 6:10 PM

Its unfortunate for the members and employees that lost jobs. Otherwise it is too be expected, there are plenty of shady people around that will always find ways to ruin things for others. Hopefully the press and subsequent actions will make future "graft" harder to commit.

If only all the graft and improrprieties done by our politicos (local & national) caused as much of an uproar...

eric / September 6, 2007 6:36 PM

I'm with you, move it - movement and exertion take me out of my head, away from anxiety. Even so, lifting weights and running on a hamster wheel, in and of themselves, weren't inspiring enough for me to join a gym. But two sessions a week at Nature Yoga would cost me the same as my gymbership, plus I get a sauna in the winter.

kate / September 6, 2007 8:02 PM

I don't care. At all. Cheetah... rawr?

Blagg the Axman / September 6, 2007 8:04 PM

Graft in all its foul forms has plagued mankind since time out of mind. In the day of the goodly King Mandrake, hucksters and card cheats were hung in the stocks for their misdeeds, or at worst given time in gaol to reconsider their chosen profession. Since the Dark Lord Kayne came to power, however, such miscreants often have their hands lopped off at the wrist, if they aren't recruited to serve the evil usurper directly. It is interesting -- in a way, these days I find myself holding more pity for the ignoble grifters than for the so-called lawmen who purport to protect town and country.

Amanda / September 6, 2007 8:13 PM

I think if you don't go to a gym or exercise regularly, it's hard to relate. I was a member of Cheetah, and it was basically like "What the F**K?!" It was a great space, and exercise is a great stress reliever. Now I'm going to have to find another gym, one within walking distance, since I don't have a car. The owner also sounds pretty messed up, so I feel for anyone who worked for him.

Steven / September 6, 2007 8:42 PM

Don't care in the least. People who exercise annoy me. All this country needs is more people living to be 90 while their brains check out at 75. Give me a burger, a side of onion rings and a heart attack at 70, thank you very much.

Dave / September 6, 2007 8:56 PM

Take away the convenient location and Cheetah was pretty mediocre (I went to the one in Bucktown). Sometimes the employees were nice, mostly though they really didn't seem to give a rat's ass, although now that may be more understandable given their boss. The place was ridiculously cramped with machines; putting weights on in that maze was a yoga class in itself. Most people who worked out there seemed like everyday normal folks, but the showboating, grunting, and weight dropping got ridiculous at times. That's par for most gyms, but it would have at least been in Cheetah's interest to not have people dropping weights on top of other weights.

Also, someone left a syringe on top of the lockers once that I almost grabbed while reaching for my water bottle. Gross!

fluffy / September 6, 2007 9:14 PM

quite honestly, i don't give a rat's ass

soup / September 6, 2007 10:24 PM

I'm going to miss the spin classes and the employees banal demeanor. It does feel strange to think that I won't be going to that space anymore. All because one crazy man decided to pull the plug. 6,000 excerisers left to fend for themselves. Shyster.

On the bright side, my employer Northwestern offers a discount to a fancy gym off of LSD that has spin class AND is half the price of Cheetah AND no membership fees. So perhaps something good will come out of this event.

Robyn / September 6, 2007 11:18 PM

Sure, it's just a gym but I think what makes this story so sensational is that in this country, we're so used to better customer service in these situations. For example, think about what a huge recall-heavy culture we have...everything from dog food to children's toys gets headlines in the news, as companies don't want to look like the irresponsible, money-grubbing assholes that their follies make them to be in the public eye. Apple is refunding $100.00 to people who bought iPhones when they first appeared on the market because the price dramatically decreased this week, and they don't want people to be pissed at them. Apple didn't have to do that, but they want to make their customers happy.

For David Wilshire to suddenly close all the doors, make half-baked statements about the reason for the closing, then cut communications with angry members who want information is quite a shock to consumers like you and me. I was a Cheetah member for seven years, and really liked the place. I 'm pissed that Wilshire considers himself the "sole victim" when there are scores of members who will have to make numerous phone calls to credit agencies and banks to make sure that their accounts are safe from the reported "thieves" who worked for him (although I suspect that Wilshire said that to distract us from the real story behind all this--a lot of his dirty laundry is now being aired all over the internet by former colleagues, and it seems that he was a very shady businessman).

What gives this guy the legal and ethical right to behave like this? This is a bona fide career-ending moment for him. What a way to lose.

r / September 7, 2007 8:30 AM

they were also supposed to be opening up a location across from the logan sq blue line stop in early 2008. they were offering an early bird special of $39.99/mo and no joining fee. i was really looking forward to being able to walk five min to the gym, and a nice one at that!!

adam / September 7, 2007 8:48 AM

Well, since I haven't used Cheetah for a few years (have been on Panther and as of about a year ago, Tiger), I can't say I lament the abrupt cessation of support for an obsolete operating system version.

Of course, when Leopard comes along, I won't jump right on that bandwagon either. If only they'd buckled and called it Civet Cat I might have been induced to go for it. Well, when has Steve Jobs ever listened to me anyway?!

m.s. / September 7, 2007 8:56 AM

hey holden: no way to the YMCA. I hardly call them "family friendly." in 1974, my family (FAMILY!) was kicked out because my parents were divorcing, and they stressed to us what a "christian" organization they were, and they did not want broken families as part of the organization. screw the ymca. GO LPAC!

Hal / September 7, 2007 8:59 AM

I recently joined the Andersonville location when I moved up there a few months ago.

As I was month-to-month and was able to cancel the Sept charge, I'm not hurt in the slightest financially. It sucks for the pre-paid folks.

But in terms of having access to a local gym in walking distance, I'm kind of bummed. I'm really hoping someone else goes into the space.

I'm also concerned about the neighborhood and too many vacant storefronts on Clark. With Augie's and Angel's restaurants closing, Women & Children First having the indie bookseller blues and now this, I'm getting a little nervous.

I'm not terribly surprised about the business itself. I had just left Sweat Shop down on Broadway shortly before Wilshire drove that into receivership (that's a nice word for bankruptcy, right?). His Energia cafe on Belmont seemed like a trainwreck before it even opened (the only way they could have achieved even half of the depth of the menu they posted pre-opening was for EVERYTHING to be frozen or straight from a Sysco can).

A lot of folks are upset about about the loss of a neighborhood meeting place. While I don't think that that "concept" in any way approaches being a business plan, it is a darned shame to lose the venue.

I do find the gossip to be quite entertaining. Someone on Chicagoist posted text from and an link to his MySpace page, where he descripbed himself as having a "love of learning" or something. Yet he didn't manage to graduate from college. His contention that free training sessions and eats from the snack bar racked up $1M in losses is pretty hilarious as well. Maybe if he'd stayed in school and taken a course or two in accounting, he'd have been able to notice these problems earlier.

In the meantime, more biking to work. Heck, that'll save me even more bucks, with the looning CTA fare increases.

charlie / September 7, 2007 9:00 AM

I am not at liberty to say......

spook / September 7, 2007 9:32 AM

"I think it sucks for the people!"

Hey Carrie...did you know that

The People, United! Will Never Be Defeated!

Now lets all shout it with spirit!

The People, United! Will Never Be Defeated!


Doyle / September 7, 2007 9:34 AM

Thank you guys for alerting me to this. I have been a Cheetah member for a year now and had no idea that they had closed on Wednesday.

If the corrupt manager Wilshire is speaking of is the one I think it is, I had a trepidatious feeling about her from the moment I signed my contract (I've got stories). After several unacceptable experiences with ornery and unhelpful staff, I stopped going (past few months). It was a well-designed, striking gym that had little of the "meat-market" feel I found at other gyms, but poor customer service was rampant and unanswered for.

I am angry.

I am angry because a business in imminent danger of closing is ethically obligated to inform its customers. The Trib reported people showing up on Wed morning to locked doors. The website gives no credible information. The phones are not being answered. Finally, members are going to have to go through the hassle of disputing their Sept credit card charge.

And, Wilshire, you say we might want to protect ourselves from your former employees? WTF? How about some specifics? Am I going to be taken to the cleaners by some disgruntled employee?

If the situation is as he's explained it, then I'm sorry for his loss. Maybe hiring a CPA auditor once in awhile would have been a smart business decision, though.

Samantha / September 7, 2007 9:45 AM

I was a member at Bucktown, and was really pissed when I found out it closed. I don't have a car, and the location near the blue line was the reason I went there.

However, I found out there is a YMCA near the Irving Park stop and joined there yesterday. I work near O'Hare so the location is more convenient for me. It is cheaper and has a pool, free personal training, and a bunch of other stuff Cheetah didn't offer, and for less.

I got my money refunded, and found a cheaper gym less out of my way, so I'm happy!

michele / September 7, 2007 9:52 AM

I've been a member for three years and I am seriously bummed. Took Pilates classes there and every single instructor was fantastic. No meat market vibe to the gym and the staff was friendly. I was a universal member so went to all three locations. I tried X Sports Fitness last night and it was awful. Huge, meat market vibe, meatheads everywhere and the instructor was not certified. Still looking around to find a replacement, any suggestions? And I'm with Hal on the vacant storefronts in Aville. Worries me too. The Cheetah location there was a big part of the neighborhood and there is a definite sense of loss.

Larry / September 7, 2007 10:56 AM

To M.S.:

The YMCA is family friendly. They allowed my-then girlfriend and I to join as a family, and specifically told us they allow all "partners" to sign up. A family is a family.

I understand you're angry at the YMCA for their past behavior, but it's not a stretch to think they might have changed some of their policies in the past 33 YEARS!

J / September 7, 2007 11:12 AM

Well, that was fast.

Carrie / September 7, 2007 11:38 AM

Eric your post made me think that I wish kit and kaboodle was really "kitten caboodle". that's it.

Spook, thanks for rallying everyone.

d. / September 7, 2007 12:08 PM

You know, some part of me really really really does not believe this guy's story at all.

When you're running a legitimate business, you don't just give everybody access to financial information.

In any case I bet we're gonna hear some really fishy stories about this dude.

d / September 7, 2007 12:40 PM

I think Wilshire bit off more then he could chew opening another new facility, got into financial trouble and had a massive meltdown. His 'there is no one I can trust' statement is a real warning sign. Time for those that love David to wrap their arms around him tightly.

spook / September 7, 2007 12:55 PM

I wonder what this will mean to our economey?

I just wondering will the fed have to flood the market with money along with the rest of the countries that we already owe "juce" loans too, like China and japan?

Oh, that's right,the fault of the "Bankers?" who made juice mortgage loans to a bunch of poor folks

skafiend / September 7, 2007 1:19 PM

eh... shit happens.

TaJ / September 7, 2007 1:19 PM

i don't like contracts of any sorts- cell phone co, gym, lease..but hey sometimes you have to...
i have a freind that told me about this last night- i don't think it's so much emotional attachment as much as inconvenience, possible loss of $ etc..

spook / September 7, 2007 2:02 PM

I do know this. Bally's sucks!

printdude / September 7, 2007 2:09 PM

I could care less that a quasi-chain has gone under.
A quasi-chain that serves only those with expendable income? I care even less.
Go run around the block, lift some milk jugs filled with sand, and save yourself some bucks!

Show me this same outrage when a police/fire station or hospital closes.
or School.
or I don't know, when your government can't pass a budget.

Where the hell are your prioritites, Mr+Ms Complainer?

skafiend / September 7, 2007 2:56 PM

Yeah, spook Bally ain't the greatest but it's all I got!

cockroaches in the lockerroom, weird smells of a fungus variety in the showers, people that think wiping the sweat off a machine is the maid's job, too many posers in the free weight area.

But it's downtown, not too far from where I work and I HAVE to go to the gym in the afternoon or I'd never go. If I had to go all the way home to go to the gym near my place, I'd probably say "fuck it, I'm too tired" and go home. Going to a gym downtown makes me feel guilty if I don't go. I mean it's RIGHT THERE.

And in keeping with the topic, my old club, The Randolph Athletic Club, closed a while back. Small but adequate, a small membership meant you could get on the machine you wanted, a great old-style swimming pool, the single owner was on premesis every single day and free towels and lockers for $48 a month. But some coporation bought the building and forced them out.

so yeah, bally sucks...

michele / September 7, 2007 3:08 PM

This thread is about the closing of a gym, not anything else. If a thread shows up about the closing of a school, fire station, etc. I'm sure you will see the outrage. Just because people are upset about a gym closing, it does not mean they don't care about anything else. I work my ass off for my "expendable income" and don't feel bad about having it and spending it on a gym membership. I also donate to charities and sit on the board of a foundation dedicated to fighting Cystic Fibrosis. But why should I have to explain that to you?

spook / September 7, 2007 4:16 PM


with all due respect( said in my best Tony Saprano Voice)

I think the point is that if you are really active in all that great work, which I'm sure is true, I hope. Then
the closing of s semi corporate gym should be about one thing


as opposed the a "justice" issue

Astriker / September 7, 2007 4:19 PM

The Andersonville location reopens on Sunday "under new management" but not ownership. The entire means of how the closing was delivered will most likely just cause more people to have distrust in the future towards the gym. The "Know No Limits" across the street in a'ville is $55 a month with no contract.

michele / September 7, 2007 4:35 PM

For me, it is a convenience thing, never said it was a justice thing. But everyone has their opinions and I don't hate on them if they think it's a justice issue. That is their opinion. and they have a right to it. And I don't see it as a semi-corporate gym. It started as one location that did well so he opened up a few more. Is that not a local guy doing well?

holden / September 7, 2007 4:43 PM


i have to second Larry's comment. The YMCA that i am very familiar with allowed not only unmarried couples to register as families but any people in a commited relationship at the same address. Different YMCA's across the nation have different policies, but i can't say i've heard of anyone people kicked out for getting divorced in the years that i've been around.

emyduck / September 7, 2007 4:44 PM

i'm bummed that the logan square location won't be opening now. we were excited to see what it would do to the neighborhood (and our property value).

spook / September 7, 2007 4:57 PM

I feel ya Michelle, the problem is that allowing people to paint any select issue as a social justice issue, just cheapens the term and the "fight". sort of like what we've done to the memory/work of certain dead leaders

I guess its the differnce between a liberal and a progresive perspective, but at 4:54pm, no biggie right....

honesly besides for a bunch of winey posters who've made this a justice issue, the owner who opend a local gym( as you put it) and helped those in and out side of his community in many ways,( as it appears)
seems like a better person over all than those who trash him because they got "rained on"

printdude / September 7, 2007 5:40 PM

Jee, Michele, I could have sworn that the topic of thius fuel was
"What do you think about the Cheetah Gym closing?"

I gave my opinion.

You are entitled to yours.

Businesses close every day in this town, and we aren't thrown up in arms about 99% of them.
Three gyms, privately owned, and attended by those not in need in any way, close and there's an outrage.

Get off my back for having an opinion.
Perhaps you need a good workout and are left with unused energy. I suggest you do something instead of getting whiny at me.

shaum / September 7, 2007 6:46 PM

My Crunch north-sheffield membership ended at the start of August, so I joined Cheetah. This was a great change for me as I was finally using a gym membership because Cheetah-Bucktown was so close to my apartment. Then it closes. Unfortunately I don't think there is another gym nearby like Cheetah. My hope is that it re-opens, either as Cheetah or through some new owner.

Although I was only a member for about 2-3 weeks, I'd have to say the customer service at Cheetah-Bucktown was fine. Seemed like a really nice place.

fluffy / September 7, 2007 6:51 PM

i still don't give a rat's ass

skafiend / September 7, 2007 9:58 PM

My theory... he was taking a bath on the big new facility he opened in my 'hood in Edgewater. I don't think I ever saw that place crowded or even half as crowded as the ones in Andersonvill, et al. Looks like he put a lot of money into so .... maybe. Anyway, just my stupid theory.

eric / September 8, 2007 1:01 PM

Maybe this isn't your intended meaning, so forgive me if I've misinterpreted your words.

Spending money on a gym isn't some subversion of social justice. Neither is having having dsl, making a nice dinner, or going to $10 movies. I like to selectively spend my money on things that are inspiring to me, and this includes working out as well as charitable donations.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion - I'm simply responding to yours without ire.

eric / September 8, 2007 1:03 PM

Did I mention the yoga classes? Abby, 11am saturdays, Crunch gym. She is awesome.

JoeJoeDancer / September 8, 2007 1:14 PM

According to the website for the gym, it appears the closure is to be pretty short-lived. The CBS news report (link included) also indicated nothing of a permanent closure. Has anyone read differently?

asa b / September 8, 2007 3:21 PM

It's a weird story, and I'm curious to hear from the other people involved, just for voyeristic reasons.

I always thought Cheetah sounded like the best gym in the city. I had already pre-joined the Logan branch, and now I don't know what to do.

Crunch was already recruiting people from outside the shuttered Cheetahs on Wednesday, and they have an awful reputation.

D / September 8, 2007 4:59 PM

Oh no! Where will all the Muscle Marys go?? Honeys get a grip...

Andrew / September 9, 2007 9:26 AM

It's just a gym. It's not like Obama named a running mate (or wiped his a** for that matter). What's with all the press?

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