Continuing its march into Wisconsin, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment has completed its acquisition of the 14-year-old, five-store Fitness Factory specialty fitness retail chain.
This acquisition, combined with an earlier purchase of six former Fitness Experience sites from Scott Egbert who acquired them at the bankruptcy auction, could put 2nd Wind well on its way to its goal ofÂ having 20 stores in Wisconsin. CEO Dick Enrico wants the growing regional chain to achieve this goal even if the company closes a few of the 11 storefronts acquired this year.
â€œWe are very enthused about what we are seeing in Wisconsin,â€ Enrico said. â€œWe did almost $1 million our first month and expect that to improve as we continue our growth in the state.â€
Enrico declined to reveal financial details of the Fitness Factory deal. He did say, however, that much like with The Fitness Experience deal, several Fitness Factory employees have been retained by 2nd Wind, although owners and management have not.
â€œWe made offers to 11 of the sales staff from Fitness Factory, and eight have come onboard,â€ he said.
The stores will be rebranded with the 2nd Wind moniker, Enrico said.
Fitness Factory owner Chris Hornung told SNEWSÂ® he hasn't been a hands-on owner for the specialty fitness chain.
"I haven't played an active role at Fitness Factory for quite some time as I am CEO of Pacific Cycle. So I have really been a passive owner and just felt as if it was a good time to sell the stores to my friend, Mr. Enrico, especially in light of The Fitness Experience abandoning the Wisconsin market."
Enrico will open his 51st store later this month and said he should hit 55 or 56 stores by the end of 2005. In 2004, he added 13 stores.
Aside from these acquisitions, Enrico has also signed leases in that state for eight new locationsÂ based on the success he's seen in the Badger State. But he may not keep open all of the current 11 sites acquired from Fitness Factory and The Fitness Experience.
â€œWe currently have 12 stores in Wisconsin, but we will only be keeping six of these open going forward. We will keep three from the Fitness Factory and three from the Fitness Experience deals,â€ Enrico said, adding he's not sure yet which ones will close. â€œWe are closing some of them due to different things, such as size and location. We actually have two that are now next to each other, and it doesn't make sense to keep them both.â€
Enrico also did not say whether any of the stores would carry the 2nd Wind "Exercise-n-Spa" name -- aÂ concept currently being tested in Minnesota as ofÂ three months ago.Â
â€œThe 'Exercise-n-Spa' stores are being tested in five stores right now,â€ said Enrico. â€œWe had stand-alone spa stores and decided to try combining them in the stores that had the space to carry spas on the floor. We haven't made a decision on if they are going to continue or not at this point in time.â€
SNEWSÂ® View: Enrico is taking the Midwest by storm. With good sales and revenues continuing for 2nd Wind, we hope these much larger steps in the last couple of years aren't over-reaching. We know that with the demise of The Fitness Experience, the goal is to be first back into the market. First and smartest is, however, key. Nevertheless, Enrico seems to have found a formula that works for him and keeps his stores on the positive side of the balance sheet, and we assume the same approach will serve him well in Wisconsin.