>> When you run a retail store with a website, the last thing you want to see on your site -- instead of, say, treadmills and ellipticals -- is something like, well, a picture of a large MantaRay fish. That's exactly what happened to regional retail chain Advanced Exercise Equipment out of Colorado on Friday, Feb. 21. On Thursday, the store's site at www.advancedexercise.com was there. Then, overnight, personnel learned the meaning of "Go fish." Type in the correct url and what did you find? Just a large underwater picture of a MantaRay taken off the coast of Kona, Hawaii. Seems a few sites hosted by the same company, Echelon, also showed Mr. Manta Ray, and all involved were scrambling as fast as they could to find out what happened and make it go away. At least they had a sense of humor: "Don't you like that?" the folks at Advanced Exercise told SNEWS when asked about the perty fishy. Luckily by Saturday, the store's new site, sans fish, was up and running again!
>> The Super Show has issued a final report -- well, sort of. As show management said after the show, it was decided to NOT issue attendance or exhibitor numbers. So the "final report" last week was just more words about how wonderful the show went, with a teaser about numbers that leaves you expecting more: "Fears of okay stats have been allayed, as all the numbers are up. Everything from buyer attendance to square feet of exhibit space rose a few percentage points." Maybe yes, but without numbers to compare, nobody can really prove anything.
>> SportsArt America will hold a sales contest of a different color this spring. The top salesperson in each of its three regions can win an all-expense-paid, nearly-weeklong trip to Taiwan in June to not only see the manufacturing plant there, but also partake in some focus groups. But that ain't all -- they'll tour historic sites and ancient temples, as well as find time for a little karaoke and golf. Along the way will be the typical cash awards for sales so anyone who sells even a single piece of SportsArt equipment will get something for their efforts. The sales period for the contest will be March 1 to May 15, with the winner being announced May 23 for a mid-June trip.
>> Earlier this month, 24-Hour Fitness opened its sixth Magic Johnson center -- coincidentally in San Leandro, Calif., where CEO Mark Mastrov opened his first club a number of years ago. In other news, 51-year-old 24 Hour staffer Skip Chase has crunched and sat his way to a couple of world records: He completed 6,369 successive sit-ups on a bent-leg ab board, and 5,260 sit-ups on an ab frame. Ouch.
>> When EN-R-G foods introduced its Honey Stinger sports gel last summer, it had a ton o' fun with its staff "titles" -- try King of Sting, Honey Czar, Vice President of Buzz, Honey Gourmand and Honeymonger. Made you smile! And smiling is good. In January when we picked up a press kit, we were disappointed to see that bureaucracy had buzzed into the hive. All had now become -- yawn -- Co-Founders, except the former Honey Monger who was now -- double yawn -- Operations. Ah, now, what's wrong with a little play in the buzz biz.
>> Look for the first Footwear Design and Technology Summit at The Super Show 2004 in Orlando Jan. 12-14, coincidentally the same weekend as the Disney Marathon on Jan. 11. Show management envisions the day as a meeting-of-the-minds of the world's top footwear innovators, designers, developers, marketers and sales experts. Planned are presentations, networking and panel discussions, as well as a special footwear section for the second-annual World of Sports Innovation. With the marathon in town, it should be good timing to gather some footwear attention and participation. And maybe log a few miles before the show's trade show doors swing open.
>> Never thought we'd see the "Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders" and "fitness" in the same press release (although we don't doubt they are, er, fit), but will surprises never cease: The team cheerleaders have teamed up with the talent group that organizes them and the Bally Total Fitness club chain to conduct a national professional cheerleader search "to find the new stars for their 2003 squad." Enthused Kelli Finglass, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Director, said, "It literally brings the first steps toward becoming one of 'America's Sweethearts' to your hometown." (We at SNEWS don't normally approve of the verb "enthuse," but we had to use it there, sorry.) The contest will be a city-by-city search with open call auditions held at selected Bally Total Fitness locations throughout the United States on March 9. Finglass said, "This program has been designed to make dreams a reality." Hmmm, maybe this is one of those reality shows?