Fitness: Did you hear?...

Horizon hires John Erlandson as new product manager, Body Bar's Catlin named IDEA program director of the year,investment firm estimates True paid $2 million for Fitness Experience stores, plus much more....
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>> Horizon Fitness has hired John Erlandson as its new product manager for bikes and ellipticals. Erlandson was previously at Fitness Quest where he helped develop and launch that company's new New Balance Fitness Equipment that will preview at the Health & Fitness Business Expo and Conference in August. In addition, Paul Zobel will be starting at Horizon later this month as the company's new product manager for treadmills.

>> The registration deadline for the eighth annual Health & Fitness Business Expo in Denver, Colo., has been extended to July 23. More than 1,200 retailers and buyers have registered so far for the three-day expo starting on Aug. 19 and running for three days. More than 150 brands will be there. To see a floor plan or a complete list of exhibitors, go to www.healthandfitnessbiz.com. Health & Fitness Business is a division of VNU Expositions.

>> Sherry Catlin, Body Bar's new president, was named last week as the IDEA Program Director of the Year. Catlin, of Boston, Mass., is also director of program development for Body Bar Systems. She has been fitness director for The Squash Club in Boston for 18 years and has more than 25 years of experience in the fitness industry. As the 2004 IDEA Program Director of the Year, Sherry will serve as an IDEA spokesperson on issues pertaining to fitness programming.

>> On the heels of True Fitness buying the five remaining Fitness Experience stores, an article in the St. Louis Business Journal quoted Debbie Douglas, president of The Douglas Group, a St. Louis-based private investment banking firm that specializes in buying and selling companies, as estimating the transaction was worth about $2 million. The local Fitness Experience stores being acquired are in Brentwood, Chesterfield, Crestwood, Fairview Heights and O'Fallon, Mo. Trulaske told the paper that all employees in the five stores, which he estimated at about a dozen, will be retained after the sale is completed. Claire Armstrong Gallacher, a retail analyst in San Francisco with investment firm Caris & Co., also told the paper it was a good time to get into the retail sporting goods market. "There is a consolidation under way within the sporting goods market. Companies like Sports Authority and Dick's Sporting Goods will continue to expand and there will be expansion by other large sporting goods retailers," Gallacher said. "Most of the retailers being acquired now are full-line, but that's not to say that there won't be consolidation among specialty sporting goods retailers." Trulaske said he expects the Fitness Experience stores here to carry about 50 percent True Fitness equipment and the rest from a variety of other manufacturers.

>> The jury trial in the Nautilus lawsuit alleging patent infringement by Icon has now been set for April 18, 2005, with its pre-trial Markman hearing set for Sept. 10, 2004, and a settlement conference set for Feb. 17, 2005. In addition, the case has been reassigned from Judge Marsha J. Pechman in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, in Seattle to Judge Ricardo Martinez.

>> On July 17, a field of more than 40 of the world’s best triathletes competed for the largest purse prize in triathlon history in an event put on by a health club, Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM). The competition is a Minneapolis Aquatennial-sanctioned event. It begins and ends at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis and passes throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul Parkway system. Racers take one of two courses: the short distance includes a .4 mile swim, 15-mile bike race, and a 3-mile run and the Olympic distance course includes a 1.5K swim, 40K bike race and a 10K run. A unique feature of the triathlon is the "Equalizer," a timing structure that allows men and women to compete on equal ground. The record purse prize is $500,000. Overall, the top 12 finishers will receive cash awards. First place winners will receive $250,000, second place $50,000, third place $35,000, fourth place $25,000 and fifth place $20,000. More than 2,500 amateur athletes from more than 40 states will likely compete as well. NBC even broadcasts the triathlon nationally. The Minneapolis Aquatennial is a 10-day, Twin Cities civic celebration that hosts more than 800,000 visitors.

>> The IDEA association for fitness professionals launched last month a new and redesigned monthly magazine it's calling Fitness Journal. It's a thick journal that now combines in one place the content that had been spread through several other of its newsletters and journals, including its instructor journal Fitness Source and IDEA Personal Trainer.

>> Joe Gold, founder of the "first gym made specifically for bodybuilders," died on Sunday in a Los Angeles suburb. He was 82. He opened the first Gold's Gym in 1965 in Venice Beach, Calif. The gym was the setting for "Pumping Iron," the 1977 documentary featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. He sold the gym in the 1970s and founded World Gym. "All of us at Gold's Gym are saddened about the passing of Joe Gold," Gold's Gym International CEO Gene LaMott said in a statement. "He was an icon in the bodybuilding and fitness industry and we will never forget his contributions."

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