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SportsQuest’s game plan unravels

Aaron Kremer February 28, 2012 14


SportsQuest appears to be disintegrating.

After falling way behind on rent, the financially strapped planned sports facility was evicted Monday from the building that housed its basketball court and weight-lifting facility, and the phone line for memberships has been disconnected.

On Monday, the building’s landlord was tearing down the SportsQuest signs and telling patrons that SportsQuest was no longer operating the gym.

“Steve [Burton] always promised one more thing, but I could only take that for so long,” said building owner Neil Carns, referring to SportsQuest’s founder.

“Your patience just runs out.”

Burton did not return a call seeking comment. An attorney who works for SportsQuest declined to comment about the eviction.

It has been a difficult month for SportsQuest. Two weeks ago, BizSense reported that indoors sports facility RISE, one of SportsQuest’s first partners, was pulling out and taking its customers back under its control.

And on Feb. 9, BizSense reported that the state had sued SportsQuest for violating health club marketing rules and demanded the business pay back membership dues.

In a bright spot, the turf fields are being used, and over the weekend Chesterfield County co-hosted a soccer tournament.

Carns declined to say exactly how far behind SportsQuest was on rent but said it was in the tens of thousands of dollars. A source familiar with the financial arrangement said that some SportsQuest checks had bounced. (BizSense reported in August that vendors were months late in being paid.)

SportsQuest had been using Carns’s building, which is near the turf fields in an industrial neighborhood off Genito Road, as a workout facility called the High Performance Training Center.

The 30,000-square-foot space has a basketball court, a weight room and workout room akin to what you might find inside a Gold’s Gym. There is also a small day-care center.

It’s unclear which facilities SportsQuest members will be able to use.

SportsQuest’s membership sales center also appears to be closed. A sign on the window reads: “The SportsQuest Membership Sales Center has moved to: 2240 Oak Lake Boulevard.” That’s the address for the building from which SportsQuest was evicted.

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  1. Ryan February 28, 2012 at 8:47 am - Reply

    I’ve used the “gym” since it was originally opened in 2006 or 2007, previously as ACTS, currently as SportsQuest. I’ve seen Steve Burton casually, but never spoken with him directly. When I got to the gym last night and saw the sign saying SportsQuest no longer had the right to use the facility, I was pretty heated. I have not seen or received any update directly from SportQuest, neither a phone call or an email. I thought it’d be a good idea to run by the sales office to hopefully put in for a refund. The door states the hours are until 7:00pm, but the lights were off. I approached the door and saw someone inside, it was Steve Burton, standing in the dark. He opened the door and I asked what was going on at the facility. He acted dumbfounded, as if he had no idea why we were being kicked out. I responded that I found it hard to believe that the CEO had no idea what was going on. He said the equipment in the building is going to be moved to another building in the same location, and we were supposed to be transitioning from the current location to the new facility. I asked what the address was of the new facility, he hesitated and said he’d have it and make an announcement within the next day as he walked away from me.

    I’m still shocked that Steve Burton coulnd’t be honest with me about the short comings of SportsQuest. I have never felt more disrespected than in that particular moment. Steve is probably the most slimy liar I’ve ever dealt with. Even if SportsQuest is able to bounce back from this I’m not sure I’d be willing to back anything lead by Steve.

    Unfotunately I, like many others, will probably never get my money back. If anyone has any information about refunds or the process involved, please share. Best of luck to you all.

    • Joe February 28, 2012 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Yep Ryan, your screwed. Good luck.

    • Lindsay March 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      What is the address for the sales office?

  2. Nanny State February 28, 2012 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Big Surprise here. Months and months of negative press regarding this whole sports park thing to include taxes owed, etc.
    Does anyone really think that a sports park of this size can make a go of it?

  3. John February 28, 2012 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Somebody in the County made money on this deal, and I’d like to know who that is.

  4. Brad Marrs February 28, 2012 at 9:58 am - Reply

    People should know that Richmond Baseball Academy South, also housed in that building, is not a part of SportsQuest and is therefore unaffected by this development. RBA South remains fully open and stable in this location.

  5. james February 28, 2012 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Chesterfield County needs to step in right now. I can’t help but think the taxpayers’ $4 million investment is in jeopardy. It’s quite clear Burton can’t make this work. The county needs to protect the taxpayers and get out of this, and hopefully find a way to utilize the existing facilities for the county’s benefit.

  6. DaveM February 28, 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Steven Burton should be thrown in jail… SportsQuest was a sham from the get go. Thankfully I never spent a dollar here, just feel bad for those that did.

  7. cvfa player February 28, 2012 at 11:37 am - Reply

    when you fire a good rep from a certain football organization for no reason and with no good explanation, this is what happen to you. oh, not to mention, before stealing this organizations teams . . . (and no, this is not who you think it is)

  8. Frank Smith February 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    John said: “Somebody in the County made money on this deal…”

    Are you saying with the County government, or just some citizens? I have my doubts about someone from government profiting, but we’ll see.

    How long before the County can recoup part of the money, by taking possession of the fields?

  9. Chip Isbell February 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    It is my hope the county has control of the fields along with Shaw the turf grass company? Steve Burton and his dream aside let’s support the county and whoever is the new owner of the fields as they are a great resource for the community. They are a regional and national grade quality that can attract large organizations from both and could be a great catch for a developer with deep enough pockets, patience and the vision and talent to add to and market them. That spells tax revenues for Chesterfield County. I am a former member ( not the high dollar type) and canceled my bank draft today in light of not being able to work out due to SQ eviction. I met a couple of members of the building owners family while there today and they seem very interested in getting this sorted out so we can get back in to use the full facility. If the former training staff transfers over I cannot think of a better place to work out and train locally. Best of luck all.


  10. Chip Isbell February 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Frank I have heard the county and Shaw already have control of the fields. If memory serves the county is first in line in case of default and they recently stated they have a level of confidence regarding their secured colatteral. If we the residents of the county support the county in this business endeavor I feel it’s a win win for our community.

  11. Kate Dunn February 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    From the outside looking in it appears that Mr. Burton is a victim of his own grandiose plans. As the recent soccer tournament demonstrated – successful and profitable events can be held at the SportsQuest venue which are both great for the competitors and bring revenue into the county. Using the county’s help on the fields he could have solidified his financial position by focusing on promoting successful tournaments, showcase events and camps and then branched out into training facilities, sports academies, health and fitness facilities. There wasn’t a sports related business in Chesterfield county that he didn’t try to absorb. He spread himself too thin financially and managerially and that’s a recipe for disaster. Someone with a more realistic business plan should take over at this point, focus on finishing the fields and holding profitable tournaments, showcase events and camps and build from there. A toned down SportsQuest plan could still be good for the county. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  12. Dawn Muth April 5, 2012 at 6:19 am - Reply

    We are an established gym who lost members to SportsQuest. We would like to offer the old members to return at their old rates and any new members may join with the same contract rates they signed on with SQ. 804.276.0405 Wolfgangs Gym

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