Sometime in the last week or two, Kelley Acevedo and his staff at GymCor.com stopped returning calls and emails, and, it appears, emptied their offices and slipped away.
The sudden non-response by a longtime fitness etail business in San Diego, Calif., which suppliers said had always been a good customer, left several companies wondering what was up. With no responses coming from telephone or fax numbers, several turned to SNEWS® for information.
After discovering the California Secretary of State’s office had suspended the business license of Kacor Inc., GymCor.com’s parent corporation with the same address on Avenida Del Oro in Oceanside, a community just outside of San Diego, we sent one of our field scouts to take a first-hand look.
On Feb. 20, a photo taken by pressing a camera against the mirrored, reflective doors of Kacor’s offices in a quiet business park showed no desks, no tables, no phones, no chairs and nary a crumb for even a starving mouse. The SNEWS scout noted there were no cars in the parking spots marked as reserved for the business, and the doors on the building were locked tight.
“GymCor was one of our dealers since June 2004, and they always paid their bills,” said Alan Gore of Bodycraft. “They owe us nothing. We did become concerned over the last year as communication became difficult.”
So, where in the world is Acevedo? Nobody really knows for sure. SNEWS called several phone lines at the company and only received messages that the mailboxes were full and to try another. Internet searches were to no avail. An email sent went unanswered by late afternoon Feb. 20.
For some the difficulty in communication only began in the last few weeks. A Star Trac representative said it had stopped doing business with the company a couple of months ago (although its brand name still appeared on a site’s menu as of Feb. 20), but this week said it found it odd that nobody could get through, said Al Cockrill, Star Trac director of consumer sales,. Ed Banasky of Fitness Master, expressed frustrated since the company owed them some money – “thank goodness it is not a big chunk,” he said – and was considering a call to his company’s attorney.
“They have always been good customers to us,” Banasky said.
That may have not been the case for consumers of late, however. San Diego Better Business Bureau records show a rating of B+ and that it processed nine complaints in the last three years, with five of those in the last year. Eight were “resolved” and one was “administratively closed,” per the BBB. Six of the nine related to issues of refunds, exchanges, warranties and deliveries.
BBB records show Kacor joined the bureau in 2002 but started its original business in 1993; the Secretary of State’s business records show it filed for a license in 1999, while several suppliers named 2004 as the start of the business. Another area source said Acevedo formerly ran a service business.
Said one supplier, who said his company had recently put GymCor (www.gymcor.com) on pre-pay, “The sign was the deteriorating communication. They always communicated very quickly until the last year or so. Communication then became very spotty, sometimes only after threats.”
SNEWS® View: Although e-commerce has normally done better in this economy than brick-and-mortar, GymCor seems to be an anomaly. What went upside down for the company may never be known, although certainly slipping out the door with all your wares and fixtures with no forwarding address is a sure sign that things were gotten very dark indeed. Luckily it seems many suppliers had been cautious of late and will likely not be too hurt by unpaid bills this time, but it’s still another blow to the industry’s consumer standing. On BizRate.com GymCor unfortunately had a whole lineup of “frowny faces” as ratings and had gathered a number of negative comments in the last few months about response and delivery.