The Canadian government just agreed to loan GoodLife Fitness $310 million
GoodLife Fitness just experienced its most challenging year to date, according to founder David Patchell-Evans, thanks to rolling COVID-19 shutdowns that saw revenues drop to "near zero" at times.
With 10,200 employees across the country and 300 gyms to maintain, it's hard to fathom how the brand is still surviving after so many months of forced closure — and it's scary to think about what might be left of Canda's largest fitness chain when everything reopens.
Fortunately for gym rats, GoodLife is too big to fail.
The federal government's Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation (CEEFC) announced this morning that it has given the 42-year-old company access to $310 million in liquidity to protect Canadian jobs.
Issued under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), this government loan is meant to provide GoodLife " with access to credit to preserve jobs and continue operations during this challenging period."
Evans, who founded what has become one of Canada's most-iconic homegrown chains back in 1979, said in a statement sent to blogTO on Friday morning that the LEEFF loan facility "will provide us with stability to manage the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to our Associates, Members and company."
"Our goal is to borrow only what is essential to meet our ability to operate strategically and efficiently to ensure we can have a healthy and viable company for the long-term future," said Evans.
"When given the opportunity to reopen all of our Clubs, we look forward to working collaboratively with government and public health to help everyone in Canada come back from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger and healthier than ever."
We are disappointed; however, we understand the seriousness of the situation and the importance of taking action to limit the spread of COVID-19. Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our Members, Associates and communities. (2/3)— GoodLife Fitness (@GoodLifeFitness) December 22, 2020
While gyms have been permitted to resume operating in some parts of Canada, such as New Brunswick, all indoor fitness facilities have been closed in Ontario since at least December 26, when a provincewide shutdown order came into effect.
In "hot spot" regions like Toronto and Peel, gyms have been closed since late November under the provincial government's grey-zone lockdown framework.
According to Evans, there have only been 57 days in total since the pandemic hit where all of GoodLife's club regions were open at the same time.
"Since I founded GoodLife Fitness almost 42 years ago, our Associates and Members have been the fabric and the backbone of our organization," said the London, Ontario-based fitness mogul.
"We've faced many ups and downs over the years, but none as challenging as the last year has presented to us in which our revenue dropped to near zero at the height of lockdowns."
Despite what he calls "extraordinary challenges," Evans says he's thankful for all of the support local communities have shown their respective GoodLife locations.
"We have been so thankful for the overwhelming support we have received from our Associates and Members," he said.
"We are also very grateful for the trust and collaboration from our landlords and vendors, who have faced this year together with us."
Join the conversation Load comments