Figure World Inc., a 2-year-old health spa located in the Backlick Shopping Center in Springfield, has closed its doors, the latest Northern Virginia health center to collapse under the strain of the fitness craze.

"There was no money to keep it open," said Sidney Rosenthal, who became principal stockholder in the company a year ago. "We didn't have the assets to pay the debts with."

Brian Tilbury, an attorney representing several Figure World employes seeking back wages totaling more than $5,000, said the center closed its doors Monday without warning all its workers. "There was no word, nothing," Tilbury said. "What bothers me about this is that there is no bonding procedure for these spas in Virginia ."

According to Tilbury, the spa had been cutting costs for months, turning off the hot water and electricity and stopping its advertising. "My wife was in there one morning, and the sheriff's deputies were in there serving papers," Tilbury said.

Several spas, including Barbara Ellen, Looking Good and Slender Ladies, have closed in Northern Virginia recently, a trend that some attribute to an oversaturation of the fitness market and to the industry's dependence on annual memberships, often offered at bargain prices as an inducement to join.

"They have overbuilt on spas around here and there is tremendous competition," Tilbury said. "Which is fine, except that the Jane Fonda thing has sort of peaked."

"All these places are feeling the same pinch," Rosenthal said. "To get the numbers, you have to sell below cost."

Rosenthal said Figure World was saddled with debts when he took it over and that he was still trying to settle with creditors when he decided to close last weekend. "We didn't know, ourselves, that we were going to close down until Saturday," he said. "That was when we told the employes."

But Judy Roberts, who taught aerobic dancing at Figure World, said she didn't know that the spa was closing until after her Monday night class. "It came as a surprise," said Roberts, owner of Figure Systems Inc., who claims she is owed $618 by Figure World. "I told my class I'd see them Wednesday."

Rosenthal said he intends to pay employes for their last pay period. "I don't know any reason why anyone would have to hire a lawyer," Rosenthal said. "I have the checks right here. I just need the addresses."

According to Rosenthal, Figure World owes about $50,000 in debts, including an estimated $20,000 to its landlord. He said he will consult with his attorney before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy. Another Health Spa Closes in Virginia By Celestine Bohlen Washington Post Staff Writer

Figure World Inc., a 2-year-old health spa located in the Backlick Shopping Center in Springfield, has closed its doors, the latest Northern Virginia health center to collapse under the strain of the fitness craze.

"There was no money to keep it open," said Sidney Rosenthal, who became principal stockholder in the company a year ago. "We didn't have the assets to pay the debts with."

Brian Tilbury, an attorney representing several Figure World employes seeking back wages totaling more than $5,000, said the center closed its doors Monday without warning all its workers. "There was no word, nothing," Tilbury said. "What bothers me about this is that there is no bonding procedure for these spas in Virginia ."

According to Tilbury, the spa had been cutting costs for months, turning off the hot water and electricity and stopping its advertising. "My wife was in there one morning, and the sheriff's deputies were in there serving papers," Tilbury said.

Several spas, including Barbara Ellen, Looking Good and Slender Ladies, have closed in Northern Virginia recently, a trend that some attribute to an oversaturation of the fitness market and to the industry's dependence on annual memberships, often offered at bargain prices as an inducement to join.

"They have overbuilt on spas around here and there is tremendous competition," Tilbury said. "Which is fine, except that the Jane Fonda thing has sort of peaked."

"All these places are feeling the same pinch," Rosenthal said. "To get the numbers, you have to sell below cost."

Rosenthal said Figure World was saddled with debts when he took it over and that he was still trying to settle with creditors when he decided to close last weekend. "We didn't know, ourselves, that we were going to close down until Saturday," he said. "That was when we told the employes."

But Judy Roberts, who taught aerobic dancing at Figure World, said she didn't know that the spa was closing until after her Monday night class. "It came as a surprise," said Roberts, owner of Figure Systems Inc., who claims she is owed $618 by Figure World. "I told my class I'd see them Wednesday."

Rosenthal said he intends to pay employes for their last pay period. "I don't know any reason why anyone would have to hire a lawyer," Rosenthal said. "I have the checks right here. I just need the addresses."

According to Rosenthal, Figure World owes about $50,000 in debts, including an estimated $20,000 to its landlord. He said he will consult with his attorney before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy.