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​Fitness Connection in Cornelius merging​ with Gold’s gym

March 21. The Fitness Connection ​gym ​on Sefton Park Road near Liverpool will close in a matter of months after its merger with the regional Gold’s Gym franchise owner, Carolina Fitness Group.

A $600,000 renovation and expansion of the Gold’s Gym facility on Liverpool Parkway and West Catawba is on deck, with plans for additional parking, a new cardio area and a wall of windows facing I-77.

Gold’s, which has 2,700 members here pre-merger, has signed a new 10-year lease in the shopping center that includes Big Bite’z, Dollar Tree, Subway and West Marine.

Twelve Fitness Connection locations will remain in North Carolina, including six in the Greater Charlotte area. It’s unclear what will happen to the Cornelius facility after the renovation is complete at Gold’s on Liverpool. Financial details were not disclosed.

All 2,300 members of Fitness Connection will become members of Gold’s which will honor current contracts.

The gym and fitness industry is not for 98-lb. weaklings despite a more health-conscious population.

​A proliferation of ​competitors—spurred by relatively easy entrance into this business—has kept prices down. Meanwhile, when equipment gets old, replacements are costly, says business broker Joe Vagnone who has facilitated a number of gym sales.

Vagnone, who is based in Cornelius, said member- and subscription-driven business models are where retail businesses are heading. “It makes it easier to get value for your customers and can afford the experience needed for retail to succeed.”

​Dating back to 1965, Gold’s is a leader in the health and fitness business.​ There are over 700 locations around the world with more than 2 million members. ​​Members of Gold’s will have access to the former Fitness Connection facility until it closes.

Carolina Fitness Group has seven other ​Charlotte Metro area locations​, including Epicentre, Rock Hill, Northlake, Concord and Albemarle.

Michael Rattenni, vice president of the Gold’s franchisee, said it could take five or six months to fully consolidate into the single location at Liverpool and West Catawba.