Body-Solid poised to grow, promote itself more, think bigger

In the less than three months since Scott McDonald and Stuart Glenn took over as CEOs to help Body-Solid enter "another era," as semi-retiring co-founder Earl Shraiberg called it, the two have hired staff, are looking to bigger marketing plans, shortened wait for products and have a goal to bring back more spark and drive.

In the less than three months since Scott McDonald and Stuart Glenn took over as CEOs to help Body-Solid enter "another era," as semi-retiring co-founder Earl Shraiberg called it, the two have hired staff, are looking to bigger marketing plans, shortened wait for products and have a goal to bring back more spark and drive.

"We all want to grow, not stand still. You're going to see an aggressive and assertive company," said David Kane, only onboard since early October as the company's new vice president of sales.

Kane has many years in specialty retail, including cycling (Trek and specialty retail), motorcycle (Helmet House) and fitness (Diamondback), all of which he said have laid just the right groundwork for his arrival at Body-Solid.

"The time in the motorcycle and bike industries is a classic fit for here," Kane said. "The potential is incredible."

When Shraiberg announced his semi-retirement in June at age 55, he was the first to say that the company needed younger and more aggressive management. So he and co-founders Tony Tsai and Steve Kuly were going to step back and hand off company day-to-day oversight (see SNEWS® story, June 17, 2005, "Body-Solid founders semi-retire, hand over the reins").

Their choice as the new leadership was a combination of McDonald, who was hired in mid-2004 as CFO, and Stuart Glenn, who has run the Fitness Factory retail branch of the business since that began 18-plus years ago.

Most of the changes won't really show up until next year, but the team has already worked on its free weight line's aesthetics, adding softer gray tones, and softened some of the lines on a few home gyms. Of course, the Forest Park, Ill.-based, company has already been working on some product updates, but the new team -- including a couple of new engineers, a company liaison to the Asian plant and some additions to customer service -- wants to take another leap forward. The company has always been known for good solid product with a good value, but taking a harder look at appearance and getting out the Body-Solid name is all part of the plan.  

"It is furniture and it is going to be in the family room," Glenn told SNEWS® on a recent visit. "We're experimenting with a lot of different things.

"We believe it's time to start," Glenn added, noting that McDonald was in Asia in mid-October visiting factories, something that will be on the agenda more often than in the past.  

More of the changes will be revealed at next year's Health & Fitness Business show in August in Denver, with more being readied for retail by fall 2006.

"Our plan is to have some ooo's and aaaah's for the August show next year," Glenn explained. That will include, in first order, new cardiovascular product with beefed-up features and more user-friendliness. Second, comes streamlined strength product.

For Kane's part, part of the advancement will include not only adding retailers in certain areas, but also working to educate and train the ones they do have.

"I'm passionate about the business of specialty retailing," Kane said. "If you educate the consumer as they should be, they will be your customer for life."

Education starts in-house with updated product shots (they've added a small photography studio in the back of the warehouse with a residential look), as well as working on "little stuff" like hangtags, brochures, signs and price tags.

"We feel really good about the future," Glenn said. "There'll be some ooo's and aaah's, but there'll also be a lot of little improvements."


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