Body Bar’s founder sells company, new owner sees retail growth

Body Bar’s new owner eyes retail potential of products and a re-invigorating of promotion and marketing.
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Craig Williams spent his first full day as the new owner of Body Bar Inc. on the floor of an IHRSA trade show that was pulsing with music and filled with the loud voices of instructors competing for product attention.

“I’m kind of walking around with my mouth open,” he told SNEWS® from a corner he sought out for some quiet to talk. Then he added, “But a trade show is a trade show. People are just enthusiastic about their products.”

Williams (pictured right), who acquired 23-year-old Body Bar (www.bodybar.com) from founder Arno Niemand, has a background in sales, marketing, management and business ownership, albeit mostly in the hydraulics industry. His degree is from the University of Kansas in mechanical engineering. With a long-term passion for fitness and golf, he decided in a search to buy a company last year that his passion could become his business.

“It just felt good,” he said about his experience with Body Bar when he began exploring the company, its product, the industry’s loyalty to it and, more importantly, its potential for growth at retail, to the consumer and internationally.

“We’re going more to the retail and to the consumer,” he said, noting the company’s mentality has been focused on the club and instructor market.

Before product and sales growth, Williams told SNEWS he will take a look at operations, including revenues and sales. But then the sky’s the limit. His goals include:

>> Increased international sales and distributorship for the original weighted bar, including China and South America.

>> Additional emphasis with the weighted bar on its quality as “the BMW in name and quality” to help rebuild markets that have been lost to less expensive knock-offs.

>> Expansion of the Body Bar Flex, which has been around for about five years (click here to see a 2005 SNEWS review), but has not been promoted as he said he thinks it should. Plans include additional educational programming with sport-specific applications such as golf or Pilates to help it sell at retail. Helpful is that the Flex product is patent pending.

“The patent is very important to my plan,” he said.

The Flex is a lightweight bar that uses the same fiberglass shell as the weighted bar but it can then bend and can be used for flexibility, core, resistance training and balance. Click here to see the product

>> Marketing the Flex Walking Bar, a shorter version of the Flex which can be carried for an additional upper-body workout while walking. Held at different spots, the bars can allow for different types of workouts. It too, he said, has lacked in promotion and has not reached its potential considering the size of the walking market.

Meanwhile, Niemand (pictured left) is retiring although he will retain his passionate involvement with wrestling, and Body Bar will continue its sponsorships of the USA Wrestling Women’s National Team, as it has done since 2003. Niemand, who is working on a book, is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The company will remain in Boulder, Colo.

--Therese Iknoian

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