Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

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Mieko’s Fitness closing

May 27th, 2010 · 91 Comments

Another business is leaving Magnolia.  We have learned that Mieko’s Fitness will close its doors Thursday night at 10p.m.  Gym members were told today that the gym was closing.

Staffers there today told us that the gym lost its lease. People who use the gym had no warning that it would be closing.

We are told that memberships are being transferred to the LA Fitness in Ballard.  Members are being told that they will be able to use LA Fitness at their Mieko’s rate for the remainder of their gym contract.

Mieko’s has not posted any information on their website for gym members but they did put a sign in the window letting people know that they were closing.  Update:  As of Friday morning, the Magnolia location has been removed from the website but there is still no information for gym members.

A staffer told us that the landlord had raised the rent and Mieko’s could not afford the increase.

Thanks to our many readers who sent us tips about this closure.  Here is an email we got from Kate: I spoke with the owner, who seemed genuinely sad and sorry, and she told me that they were unable to negotiate a lease with the landlord.  This same landlord apparently owns several other empty storefronts in that same block, making us wonder if he’s planning something.  We are all apparently going to get memberships to LA fitness in Ballard for the remainder of our contract at the same price we were paying at Mieko’s.

This is the second large business to close in Magnolia, Hollywood Video recently went out of business.  That leaves two large empty retail space on 32nd Ave West.

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  • matt

    Bummer big time. Never went there but I don’t want to see Magnolia all boarded up like other parts of town. Very sad. Guess prices are pushing people to the ‘burbs. Sorta want our little island in the concrete jungle to live on.

  • Kloftonk

    Check out Denali fitness http://www.denalifitness. com behind the QFC on dravus.

  • Julie

    Hate to hear that news. Our kids belong there and enjoyed the fact it was so close to home–could jog or ride bikes there. I hate seeing so much space empty — come on landlords…wake up! Have a community conscience.

  • Mary

    Very DISAPPOINTING news. This was a very convenient workout facility for many people in Magnolia.

  • Kyle

    This is just wrong.

  • Jason

    This is totally messed up, I just worked out there today!! Had no idea. Crap.

  • Sad

    I was paying $22 for both my husband and me. Denali’s $70 a month $100 + for a couple. Guess it’s time to start working out at home or outside.
    It’s sad that there won’t be an affordable alterntive as close as Mieko’s.

  • Kloftonk

    Denali prices:
    Enrollment fee Monthly Dues
    Individual 69.00 60.00
    Couples 109.00 109.00
    Family 139.00 139.00

    Not as inexpensive and convenient as Mieko’s but you get what you pay for.

    I’m not about to fight that Ballard bridge all summer!

  • Jamie

    I just called the number on the Miekos website which routes to the Lake City location. I was told rather rudely by Dana that my membership is now with LA Fitness (they apparently bought all the Magnolia location memberships) and that I would have to go in person to the Ballard LA Fitness to cancel the membership. Pretty crappy customer service!

  • Jamie

    Just called LA Fitness and they refered me back to Miekos to cancel. LA Fitness says that they don’t have the database of memberships yet and probably won’t until Monday.

  • Patty

    Pretty chicken of Mieko’s to NOT EVEN POST SOMETHING ON THEIR WEBSITE for members or have ANY option to contact them via their website. I have been a member since they opened their doors; guess I wouldn’t find out unless I went down there. Ballard not a great option for many – anyone know who their landlord is?

  • Janine Ivanelli

    From Janine Ivanelli, Magnolia Personal Trainer: 206 -841-1965.
    For those who lost their convenient workout spot at Miekos, call me. I am a personal trainer and yoga teacher working at Fitness by Design on Government Way on Magnolia. Train with me for one month (once or twice a week) and get the second month on a complimentary basis. With this personal training offer, you get to use the cardio equipment at other times as long as there is a trainer in the studio. This could be the best thing that has ever happened to you!

  • robinfairchild

    You mention the landlord owns several other empty storefronts on that block. That fact highlights one of the saddest and ugliest parts of the village. It looks like Beirut! Maybe the owner of all those empty places will finally do something. Anything would be an improvement. If he is raising rents it suggests he wants everyone out.

  • name

    Yeah, who is the owner anyway? I’ve heard he’s a Chinese businessman and he owns all those other boarded up properties on the same block but I’m not sure if that’s true.

  • Michele

    What I find so sad about this is that Mieko strongly encouraged her customers to vote as “Seattle’s Best Gym” in local contests. Which loyal customers did. Then she abruptly closes shop, with no prior notice to her customers. She could have sent an email/flyer or something. It is very wrong to close shop on such short notice with no direction as to the fate of prepaid memberships and I for one will never join another gym fronted by Mieko.

  • Waz

    Thanks to Mieko’s for a great 10 year run.
    We had a wonderful convenient location in the neighborhood.
    Mieko’s owners’ made an honest effort to re-negotiate an economically reasonable renewal lease with the landlord; but, were unsuccessful, due to unreasonable demands by the owner.
    We still have other options close by.
    For those using a Personal Trainer or taking Yoga classes call Janine Ivanelli at ‘Fitness By Design’ (206-841-1965) whom I can highly recommend.

  • Nancy

    I don’t understand why Mieko’s was practically giving away memberships right up to the day before they closed and locked their doors!

  • Workout Mama

    I was over at LA Fitness to see if what we were being told was in fact true. From what they said it is — our membership is transferred and our contract stays the same so what you are paying now you will pay as long as you continue to be a member. For most of us, this is a very good deal. Personally, I think Meiko’s did us a huge favor. The club is clean and has tons of great equipment, more classes, a pool, etc. I walked away thinking, why was I not working out here before. Now I can! Come on Magnolians, we can leave our little island once in a while! There will be a lot of options, like the offer from the personal trainer above — and I totally agree, this could be the best thing that happened to us. Everyone can use a tune-up on their exercise routine! And, hopefully, the landlord has a better use already lined up for the property!

  • Will B

    Raising rent to the point of loosing a long term lessor of a moderately sized class B- retail space in ‘Mongolia’ during the worst economic conditions commerical RE has faced in 40 year is beyond stupid.

  • maglite

    WorkoutMama: so will they keep honoring our contract/rate even if we were on a month-to-month contract with Miekos? Was it an easy transation for you? Did they give you a new LA Fitness pass (key fob)? Did you get anything in writing from them?(as I have very little trust in this whole “switch”) I was going to wait a few more days to let the dust settle, but I’d really like to work out this weekend. (sorry for all the questions!)

  • CB

    This morning, Magnolia was not listed on the Mieko web-site anymore. Called the 1-866 number, the person I talked to was not aware of the closure, and was truly sorry not to be able to help. I called Corporate later in the day and once again the person could not clarify the terms of the transfer.
    Stopped by LA Fitness this afternoon, long line of Mieko customers. They could not cancel the membership until sometimes next week.
    Called back Corporate and this time they confirmed that our month-to-month membership was transferred to LA Fitness for as long as we remain members.
    We have not made our decision yet between Denali or LAFitness and no matter where we all end up, Mieko did not talk to us before closing door, did not ask us before transferring/selling (I heard both verbs) our information to another business. Not good business practices, they should have at least informed us of the issue, and given us options to cancel or transfer.

  • Workout Mama

    Go in, they will answer your questions. I thought LA Fitness staff was really helpful today — more so than Meiko’s last night — and while they don’t have our account information they will next week and can start working out things on a individual basis. I got a key fob, can work out this weekend or on-going. I’d give it a try before cancelling. What do you have to lose to try for at least a month or until they change your terms? I am not month to month so I can’t say what they are doing there. Meiko’s could have warned us I guess but in my opinion they got us the best deal around they could. They could have kept our memberships and asked us to use the next closest location which I guess would be Lake City. Not reasonable. Then there would have been a lot more angry clients going in and cancelling. This way you still have an option — work out close to home and decide if LA Fitness fits your style. Hey, more good news is the locker rooms are clean, the lockers have locks and there is a free towel service!! :)

  • MJ

    We went to LA Fitness this evening to check it out. While the location isn’t ideal, compared to Mieko’s, there’s no comparison between facilities. Transferring our membership took less than 5 minutes and we could have worked out tonight if we wanted to. We’re pretty happy to have access to cycling and aqua classes–not to mention clean locker rooms–while continuing to pay $25/month for both of us. It’s not worth it to us to pay $84/month more (plus initiation fee) to join Denali Fitness.

  • Patty

    Come on Mieko! Talk to your clients; post information on your website – do you want to stay in business or is this a message to rest of your clubs? Sorry you lost your lease but these negotiations take months (not days) – you really have an obligation to your customers to at least communicate. Some of us were your first customers!

  • name2

    I don’t think Mieko’s closed due to a lease issue. I know someone who knows someone who is a member of Miekos at another location, and that one is closing too.

  • sparkys mom

    MJ: glad to hear that you were able to transfer so easily. Wondering if you would share what type of membership you were on at Meikos – Month to Month membership or something else?

  • jp

    That landlord is a slumlord. His buildings are in disrepair and an eyesore for the community. Time to sell or do something with your buildings. They’re falling apart! Its prime real estate. Great for say a buther shop. I’ll miss you meiko’s. You were close and simple. Bummers.

  • Viewmont

    I think I heard the landlord is not well and is not making sound business decisions. Maybe it’s time to engage the city to take over the properties…

  • Diane

    La Fitness has been very welcoming and the facility is spectacular. My membership is month to month, so far now it is a steal. I saw a lot of familiar Magnolia faces this morning which was great.

  • Mamasings

    Thanks for this info, folks. Do any of you have prepaid memberships? If so, do we get the same rate after it switches to month-to-month?

  • MJ

    Sparky’s Mom, I guess our contract with Mieko’s was month-to-month after paying a small initiation fee to lock in the monthly dues. The form we signed at LA Fitness said they’ll honor our agreement and we’ll keep paying at that rate.

  • Mamasings

    Just went in yesterday and they confirmed that after my prepaid months are over, I can continue month-to-month at my old Mieko’s rate. Call be skeptical, but I’ll be curious how long LA Fitness honors that. I’m not sure what their legal obligation is to do so.

    I will say, I feel for now at least like I paid for a Motel 8 and got the Four Seasons. The facility is beautiful.

    I am also very curious and sad about this alleged landlord issue. That area along 35th is beginning to look blighted (well, as blighted as Magnolia gets). MCC, perhaps this is something you could intervene on?

  • In9exiled

    It’s all public info who the owner of the building is.
    Sloan Building Co. C/O Tod Huey. He has probably had the building a long time as there are no records of purchase (parcel website records only go back so far). Appraised value of building is 1.7M

  • Joe

    Why not check out ProRobics on QA..been there since ’82 and they told me they will honor your rate as well..fantastic group exercise program and tons of equipment.

  • Cookie

    This building owner does not own the eyesores down the block. Terryance Yoshikawa that owns the 3 rundown buildings just north of US Bank.

  • Ballard Mom

    I have to say that as a member of LA Fitness it was a rather rude awakening to find the gym so insanely crowded today. Especially the child care room! There were way to many kids to make it safe. It’s also a little annoying that there’s 500+ people who are now paying a lot less than I am for a membership there. My husband and I pay almost $90/month. A lot more than the new Mieko’s crowd. Consider yourself lucky if you’re paying $22/month for two of you! It’s a steal.

  • Janice

    It would have been nice if Miekos could have given us some warning and some options. They were not very helpful when I just wanted to cancel my membership after they closed…now I have to go to LA Fitness IN PERSON to make this happen….what a pain. How can they just tranfer you somewhere else without your consent?

  • Marni

    I just joined Om Lifestyle & Wellness, in lower Queen Anne, after going to the club and seeing the sign. They are having a special for 3 months for $99 then it’s $39 a month after that. They have a pool, hot tub, saunas and everything else most all clubs have. website:

  • harry

    can get about $30 per month with a $0 or $10 joining fee. Tons of classes, pool, and open 24 hours of course. Not a bad option if downtown, queen ann, northgate works for you

  • Nancy

    While Miekos was a convenient but mediocre gym, the yoga instructors were all really great – each with their own style. Lucy, Matt, Laura, and Charlene – you are very much missed!!!

    Having attended 4 classes now at LA Fitness all I say is PLEASE come apply to teach at LA Fitness. You guys are sooo much better than the instructors I’ve encountered so far. While the new place is great and fancy, their yoga program could really use an upgrade!

    LA fitness – if you are reading this, please reach out to these folks from Miekos – their teaching ability will most certainly elevate your yoga progam – the teacher today (Sat) was not even doing correct poses or breathing – Warrior I is NOT the same thing as Crescent Lunge!!!!

  • John

    I noticed that my debit card was accessed by LA Fitness this morning. It’s interesting to me that they don’t seem to have my information to allow me to cancel my membership, but do seem to have my information to debit my account (without my permission). I guess what upsets me about this is having Mieko’s take my choice (for their profit)

  • Kathy

    I’d like to get in contact with Lucy who taught Pilates at Meikos — does anyone know how I might contact her?

  • Karinna

    All very sad news, and especially sad what is happening to the businesses in Magnolia. Is there anyone to contact in the city to complain about this landlord?

    It seems impossible to me that someone would rather have boarded up buildings in our neighborhood rather than negotiate reasonable rates with good tenants, especially in an economic slump. Shame, shame on the landlord, whoever he is.

  • Doug

    Any members referred to LA Fitness and having problems with your contract please contact me regarding possible class action suit.

  • Nancy

    Post #42 – Hi Kathy – you can get a hold of Lucy through the Meiko’s in Lake City -she’s still teaching there. I was able to leave a message for her at that gym so we were able to re-connect.

  • Carol

    I am fairly certain that the owner of the properties on 32nd Ave W is “KO Securities” which appears to be run by a “Terrance Yoshikawa”. KO Securities runs out of the derelict-looking offices south of the Hardware Store on 32nd Ave W. I would encourage people to mail or leave notes there, “encouraging” Mr. Yoshikawa to become a responsible member of the community by properly maintaining (and leasing) his properties. “Slum Lord” be thy name!

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