Slender Lady Founder Bruce Sharpe Has Died

UnhappyFranchisee.com has learned that the controversial founder (and former business partner of Cuppy’s Coffee founder Robert “Morg” Morgan) has died.

An email being circulated to friends, family and former associates reads:

For any of you who don’t yet know, Bruce Sharpe passed away from natural causes on December 1, 2008. He was happily living in Colombia.

He is much loved by many of us and he will be sorely missed by his many friends and family.

There are no plans for his service as of yet, but when we find out, we will pass the information along. If any one of you knows, please let the rest of us know. Thanks.

His son Larry is reportedly en route to Columbia to bring Mr. Sharpe’s body home to California.

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Bruce Sharpe was a controversial figure in franchising.  He founded the Slender Lady Women’s Fitness chain as a head-to-head franchise competitor to Curves.  According to a 2003 article in the Sacramento Business Journal:

Founder Bruce Sharpe, who used to work for the Gold’s Gym chain, opened his first Slender Lady in California in the mid-’90s and started franchising in 1998. Thirty opened, but then growth stalled. [Robert “Morg”] Morgan and John Verdugo joined Sharpe as partners last year, invested $500,000 and restructured the company.

By 2005, IHRSA reported that Slender Lady had sold 350 franchises and opened 150 units in the U.S. and Canada.

However, the chain was soon beset with failed franchise units, franchisee lawsuits and allegations of fraud and breach of contract by the franchisor.  In April, 2005, The California Dept. of Corporations charged Slender Lady with making misrepresentations and omissions as to the level of training, assistance in marketing and advertising, Web site, and a commercial ad.

Based on the violations of California law, Corporations revoked the franchise registration of Slender Lady, issued a Desist and Refrain Order to CEO and founder Bruce Sharpe and his company to stop the offer and sales of unregistered franchises, and denied its application for renewal of franchise registration dated April 12, 2005.

What was left of Slender Lady was acquired by Healthy Inspirations in 2007.  Jim Rowe, former majority stockholder of Slender Lady, is CEO of Healthy Inspirations.

15 thoughts on “Slender Lady Founder Bruce Sharpe Has Died

  • Pingback:Controversial Founder of Slender Lady Fitness Chain Has Died

  • December 4, 2008 at 10:00 pm
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    at least morg is still in the country, bruce fled to columbia to avoid lawsuits

  • December 10, 2008 at 9:57 pm
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    Bruce was a thieving snake. He screwed over so many people while he was at Slender Lady. Hopefully it’s not to hot for him down there.

  • January 5, 2009 at 7:57 pm
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    There are two sides to every story. No one ever cared to hear Bruce Sharpe’s side because there opion was already made up by what they heard or assumed. I am not writing this to explain his side i am doing this becasue he has passed away and its already hard enough on Family and Friends. So we could go with out the negative comments about it “not being to hot down there”. I ask for the sake of his family and friends that you keep your horrible comments to your self. Let him rest in peace. Thank you.

  • January 5, 2009 at 10:04 pm
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    I doubt too many of the people who feel they were misled and lost their savings and homes will be respectful either because of Bruce Sharpe’s side of the story or because they want him to rest in peace.

    So let me point out that angry words meant for the departed won’t reach their intended target. It’s unfair to inflict pain on grieving family members who had nothing to do with his controversial business dealings. Be respectful of them.

    That being said, the franchisors and business opportunity sellers out there who are living the high life today may want to consider the legacy they’ll leave behind. Some bells can’t be unrung.

  • January 6, 2009 at 10:20 pm
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    Hi every one..Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It has been four years since I open and close my Slender Lady. I lost all my money, I had worked so hard for many years, all my savings are gone. I am still working on paying back all the credit card debt back. Meeting Bruce Sharpe change my life for ever…..

  • April 5, 2010 at 3:52 am
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    To Larry (Bruce’s brother) and the rest of his family who probably inherited Bruce’s money. MY MONEY and countless others. “His passing is hard enough on family and friends?”—Larry Sharpe.

    EXCUSE ME?

    Bruce was a thief who robbed hundreds of hard working American’s by providing false hopes and dreams. He sold me on this dream. So where were you Larry when I lost my home? Where were you when I was sued by my landlord for not upholding my contract? Where were you when Bruce was spouting off national advertising campaigns while he knowingly was illegally selling franchises in California by not filing the proper paperwork? Where were you when he made false allegations that Hunter Tylo was going to be Slender Lady’s National Spokeswoman? All bullshit in order to CON people out of their savings and retirement just to line his pockets.

    Unfair to his grieving family members? How fair was it to my son, that I no longer have money to send him to college because I sunk it in a fraudulent franchise? How fair was it to my husband that we had to burn through cash we didn’t have in order to try and salvage our business all along being promised by Bruce of a marketing campaign that NEVER existed?

    Yeah enjoy OUR money Larry Sharpe and family. After Bruce’s assets were liquidated did ANY of you feel obligated to return it to those that lost thousands of dollars, their homes, retirement, or college savings?

    Respect MY ass!
    Karma is a BITCH! But thank God for it!

  • April 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm
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    Teri, (if thats your REAL name??????)

    I can understand one’s anger regarding a business or investment that didnt work out. Especially when it puts a finacial toll on the whole family (homes, college funds, ect..)

    However to have so much anger towards one person that you feel its ok to be rude to the family and say such harsh things about a family memeber who has passed is just sad!!

    Whatever your issues are with MY Father, Bruce Sharpe has nothing to do with the rest of the family!

    I would ask that you try to look at it from our perspective. If you where to loose your son or husband and someone was saying rude things about them after they had passed away it would be very hurtful. That person is still your loved one no matter what!!!!

    Again i am sorry for the lasting toll that your business investment cost you with Slender Lady, however money is replaceable and a loved ones DEATH is NOT!!!

    Larry Sharpe

  • April 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm
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    Larry:
    you write “I can understand one’s anger regarding a business or investment that didnt work out.” Respectfully, I don’t think you do understand or else you wouldn’t toss gas on the fire like that. People who sued and still harbor resentment toward Bruce Sharpe believe they were lied to and blatantly defrauded. They are referring to “theft,” not a business that “didn’t work out.”

    Did he ever help you out buying a car? Pay for your college tuition? Help with the downpayment on your first house? Send money to you or your kids on their birthdays? Leave you an inheritance? Franchisees who lost everything will tell you that was THEIR money, not his nor yours. Did you ever send him a thank you note or make a call to him for helping you out? They’d tell you you should have thanked them, not him, since that was money they’d rather have given to THEIR kids. Unlike him, they were not “happily living in Colombia.”

    It does seem rude to speak ill of the dead and to say things that hurt family members. But you are not going to stop angry comments by perpetuating the fraud that this was simply a fair investment and that whatever financial support the family enjoyed was the fruit of an honest day’s work. Even if you do so on his behalf, you probably could quiet the anger by providing what these franchisees and their families never received for their years of hardship: an apology.

  • April 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm
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    The first Slender Lady opened over 12 years ago, so it’s obvious the business concept worked!!! I am not sure what your particular situation was, that’s why it would be helpful if i knew who i was talking too?????

    The only thing my father ever helped me out with financially was a down payment of $2,000 on a used car when i was 16, and i had had to make the rest of the payment myself!!! there was no down payment on my first house, no college tuition ect……

    I still don’t know why you think he was lining his pockets with cash??? there was a corporate office with numerous employees that had to be paid for not to mention the rest of the bills related to doing business. When the law suits started and the franchisees stopped paying royalties then it was up to my father to pay the bills, so all the money he made from the company went right back into it to keep it going.

    Please explain the FRAUD and THEFT you are referring to????

    Tell me who i am speaking with, there are two sides to every story and it would be helpful if i knew yours?????????

    Larry Sharpe

  • November 17, 2010 at 6:24 am
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    This site is called “unhappyfranchisee.com.” Did you really expect people to write glowing remarks about Bruce Sharpe? Although there’s always two sides to a story, the franchisees’ claims don’t seem all unwarranted. The fact is the CA DOC “revoked the franchise registration of Slender Lady, issued a Desist and Refrain Order to CEO and founder Bruce Sharpe and his company to stop the offer and sales of unregistered franchises, and denied its application for renewal of franchise registration dated April 12, 2005.” And according to the then-current Acting Commissioner Wayne Strumpfer “Our department took this action to protect purchasers of franchises from fraudulent sales practices.” Was this ever appealed and reversed? I couldn’t find anything in my web searches.

  • January 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm
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    I have no intent to hurt the family of Bruce Sharpe.

    So below I just present the facts.

    I was the first franchise that Bruce and Martina sold.

    Bruce was very deceptive and misleading about the nature of the business.

    I was retired and had the cash to buy the franchise so I didn’t lose my home or end up in debt as it appears others would have and did.

    By fooling me, Bruce took not only the franchise fee, but all of the initial payments (thousands of dollars) that members paid to join Slender Lady as well, instead of them going into the franchise business that I had bought.

    I discovered that the equipment provided was used and faulty.

    Training was basically just to sell memberships through high pressure techniques.

    Too late I realised that Bruce had misrepresented this franchise business to me..

    I should have sued for breach of contract, but did not want to go through the money, headache and time that that would have taken.

    I sold the franchise back to them and took about another $15,000.00 loss.

  • June 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm
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    Hello I owned slender lady of San dimas . I hate to be the one to say this but what goes around comes around and morg and Bruce are both no longer alive. Karma is a bitch. Thank you for taking all my money ! Enjoy!!!!

  • June 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm
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    Trinity:
    Are you sure about Morg? I haven’t seen any reference to this, and have seen that he has published blog posts as recently as late May, 2012.
    Thanks,
    ADMIN

  • February 17, 2016 at 2:04 am
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    There is a side to every story Bruce Sharpe and Martina treated me very well as a slender lady franchisee I work for the corporate office in my own town learn lots of different things from them never owned a business but they taught me how to be a business owner to treat people with respect work hard I was a mother of 3 single mom that was working for Mervyns and on welfare I ended up selling franchises for the corporation helping many women lose weight or nutrition counseling and enjoyed my job so very much I was very disappointed when slender lady close down

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