Downtown Burlington gym Marketplace Fitness closes because of COVID-19

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Marketplace Fitness, a fixture in downtown Burlington for more than 20 years, closed its doors on April 1 after its membership dropped precipitously because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manager Mark Mercer said membership fell to fewer than 70 before it closed, from a peak of nearly 500. He felt the loss personally.

“I really have invested all of my heart and soul in this place,” Mercer said two days before the gym closed. “Not coming here Thursday morning to work and work out, it’s going to be hard.” 

The gym was located in the basement of the building at the corner of Church and Cherry streets that currently houses a CVS pharmacy, and was owned by local developer Jeff Nick, who still owns the building.

Over the years, Marketplace Fitness developed a family-like atmosphere that kept members coming back for decades. Friendships developed and flourished, which is why some members took the closing so hard.

Kathleen Bush, a Marketplace Fitness member for three years, said trainer Alli Campbell would send her a video of a workout every two days on Cape Cod, where Bush lives in the summer, along with written notes to “keep me fit until I went back to the gym.”

Marketplace Fitness is a small gym with a family feel, as seen on March 29, 2021.

“That’s how dedicated they are,” Bush said. “They check in with you physically and emotionally. They are personally involved with every person who goes into that gym.”

For more on the story of Marketplace Fitness, including what is going to take its place in the basement of the CVS building, go to the subscriber-only story.

Why subscribers only?

The Burlington Free Press is dedicated to bringing you stories that have gone previously unreported. This sort of story takes considerable time and effort to publish. Your subscription makes it possible for us maintain our commitment to in-depth reporting. 



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