Trevor Linden’s new Burnaby club now open after pouncing on bankrupt gym

They say timing is everything.

Vancouver Canucks legend Trevor Linden was ready to expand at the right time when the opportunity was there.

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Now his fitness franchise – Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness – has just opened its first North Burnaby location at 4199 Lougheed Hwy. in the Brentwood area.

The gym franchise operates a facility in the Edmonds area of South Burnaby at Highgate Centre.

The North Burnaby location was the former site of Steve Nash Fitness World, which has been undergoing financial and legal problems during the past few months.

"Opportunity comes knocking and you get offers that you can’t refuse," Chuck Lawson, president and CEO of Club16, told Business in Vancouver in an interview about opening new locations in Burnaby and Richmond.

Lawson said the company was approached by quite a few landlords of Steve Nash Fitness locations, all of which have been closed since mid-March. SNFW Fitness B.C. Ltd. – which operated more than two dozen fitness locations under Steve Nash, Crunch Fitness and UFC Gym brands – went through insolvency proceedings under federal bankruptcy and insolvency legislation.

SNFW is now a new company with the name Fitness World with locations on Kingsway and at Lougheed Town Centre mall.

Even as Club 16 expands, Lawson says navigating the pandemic and a new re-opening regime has been a "colossal struggle" for the company, which laid off a lot of employees prior to re-opening, and hasn't been able to hire them all back. Costs – for cleaning, for 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer – are higher, and capacity in a gym at any given time is limited.

"Just trying to get to normal now is the goal," Lawson said, adding that despite COVID-19-related challenges, the two location deals made a lot of sense for Club16. 

"We were not in either of those marketplaces and we wanted to be in those marketplaces. It just made sense. Sometimes someone else’s problems become your blessings," he explained, adding that the company will save on renovation costs by not having to turn either location into a fitness facility. 

“There’s some advantages to us jumping in there and taking them.”

With files from Hayley Woodin

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