Fitness: Did you hear?…

Jeff Sellars opens Florida retail store, Nautilus hires Interpublic agencies for $95 million creative campaign, Iron Grip expands international retail presence, team up with Fido for better wellness, plus much more...
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For the week Oct. 26 to Nov. 1

>> Have you seen the Tom Hanks movie, "The Terminal," where a visitor from a make-believe Eastern country gets held in the JFK airport because his country had a military coup while he was in the air and it basically doesn't exist? In the opening scenes, where the director is establishing Americana and how confusing it is to the non-English-speaking character, the director focused on several things: one, Starbucks; two, fast food; and three, a commercial on an airport TV for the Bowflex Xtreme. Funny, that it's part of "The American Way," as the director seems to have seen it.

>> A new fitness specialty retailer swung open his doors this month near Tampa, Fla. Home Fitness Equipment in Brandon just east of Tampa was opened by Jeff Sellars, a former manager at Precision Equipment who was a teenage bodybuilding competitor and champion. Sellers is running the business with his father, Roy. So far he's nailed down Universal, Bodycraft, Tunturi and Horizon, and is negotiating with a few other brands. He can be reached at homegymequipment@aol.com or by calling 813-655-0408. His website should be live soon: www.homeworkoutequipment.com.

>> efi Sports Medicine's GravityTraining System is as of this month being taught in nine countries. The master training team flew from the Club Industry show to Mexico, notching off the ninth training site and country. All in a year's work basically. Good show for a good workout that bridges traditional strength and Pilates.

>> Nautlius Group has assigned its projected $95 million global marketing business to a group of Interpublic agencies led by Foote Cone & Belding. The agency's Seattle office will lead the account, working with IPG siblings such as ID Media, Marketing Drive, The Hacker Group and Marketing Corp. of America. FCB is charged with strategic planning and creative direction for the Nautilus, Bowflex, Schwinn Fitness and Stairmaster brands to support all channels where the brands are marketed. FCB will initiate a first-ever advertising campaign to drive preference for the Nautilus brand of fitness equipment. "We needed an external partner with the broad and deep resources of Interpublic and the creative savvy of FCB to get the most out of our company's marketing and advertising investments," said Tim Hawkins, chief customer officer and chief marketing officer for The Nautilus Group. "We have excellent experience in direct response television and will continue to invest heavily there. However, we'll seek more synergy and integration to support multiple marketing channels going forward as we pursue revenue and share growth in North America and globally."

>> GERMANY -- Everlast is celebrating a comeback via the Grube Group of distributors. The newly founded brand, Ever 4 Ever Grube GmbH is now distributing all of the licensed apparel and shoe products by Everlast in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. The products will be mostly fitness, kickboxing and basic apparel, rounded out with a few sport and fashion shoes.

>> Scott Egbert established a new way of doing business when he took over in October 2001, first, the Chicago area stores of the former Busy Body that went bankrupt, and then the Michigan stores. He set up two separate businesses, totally separate entities -- one is Chicago Home Fitness and the other is American Home Fitness. The model continued when he moved into Utah in the late summer with Utah Home Fitness, his third retail business. The only thing that's in common with the (so far) three companies is himself. That means no area feels like "the little brother" of the first Chicago-area stores. Each manager is given equity so they feel ownership, Egbert said. "They have a stake and if it does well, they'll do well, and if it does badly, they'll feel it," he said "Plus, they have an emotional tie. It's more than a job." SNEWS® View: Of course, that also means that if one area does poorly or hits a financial stop-sign, it can't bring down the other areas too. Smart planning.

>> During a weeklong promotion, Crunch had a roller skating street team distributing red sweatbands all over New York -- the gym's birthplace -- to mark its 15th anniversary. People spotted wearing the limited edition sweatbands last week on the streets were eligible to win a Club Med vacation, Jet Blue airline tickets, "Bombay Dreams" tickets, and Fresh Direct gift certificates. Sweatband recipients also received a free workout. Crunch COO Roger Harvey personally awarded Brooklyn resident Will McLaughlin a complimentary 15-year Crunch membership, after spotting him with a red sweatband in Union Square on Oct. 29. McLaughlin, an actor and former New York Sports Club member, reportedly said, "Goodbye New York Sports, HELLO Crunch!" as he cut up his New York Sports membership card.

>> Kathryn Olsen has joined Iron Grip as an account executive for the western United States, while Katey Prinz has been named the company's marketing manager. Olsen will handle dealer relations and account development for 17 states. Prior to Iron Grip, she worked for American Exposition Technologies, a trade show and event management firm. She also has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from San Diego State University, as well as a personal training certification from the National Council of Strength and Fitness. Prinz will oversee all trade shows and events, website development, and promotions. Prinz was ad manager for Frog's Club One, and holds various fitness and training certifications. In addition, the company has expanded its international representation with the addition of five new dealers outside the United States: Force Fitness in the UK; PrimaFit covering Indonesia and East Timor; Power Sports handling Malta, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia; Future Wave in Israel; and Gymco Sports out of Taiwan. Iron Grip's authorized international dealer count has now reached 50 covering 56 countries outside the United States.

>> At the fourth annual IHRSA European Congress, the association presented Etienne Madelin, managing director of Club Med Gym, with the European Club Operator of the Year Award. The award was sponsored by Technogym. Club Med Gym operates 23 clubs -- 22 in Paris and one in Brussels -- employs 650 people and serves more than 70,000 members.

>> GERMANY -- The ispo winter 2005 sporting goods trade show has fully sold out its available 160,000 square meters (1.72 million square feet) of the New Munich Trade Fair Center for the show Feb. 6-9, 2005. Organizers said they are expecting more than 1,600 exhibitors from 40 countries in Munich, of which foreign attendees (which includes any country outside of Germany) should account for more than 70 percent. Exhibitors in the fitness segment in Hall C1 include Aicon, Andy Fitness, Body Sculpture, Bremshey, Cammax, Hammer Sport, Horizon Fitness, Kettler, Life Gear, Reebok, Royalbeach, Schmidt Sports World, Sigma, Simex, Stamm, Vision Fitness and York Barbell. The running segment will feature adidas, asics, Champion, Concurve, Ecco, Fila, Jola, Kappa, Polar, Pony, Reebok, Sugoi and Tao, among others. Fore more information, visit www.ispo.com.

>> Russell Corp's board of directors has named Rebecca Matthias to its board. Matthias is president and founder of Mothers Work, Inc., a publicly traded company that designs, manufactures and markets maternity fashion. Formerly a civil engineer, Matthias founded Mothers Work in 1982 when she was pregnant with her first child and unable to find clothing appropriate for her role in the business world. Today, Mothers Work manufactures and sells maternity apparel through more than 1,100 locations nationwide. The board also elected Robert D. Koney Jr. as a senior vice president of the company. Koney joined Russell in September as chief financial officer. Prior to Russell, Koney was with Goodrich Corp. for 18 years and had been vice president, controller and chief accounting officer there since 1998.

>> Coming faster than you think: The Super Show will be held Jan. 17-19, 2005, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. To get more information and register, check out www.thesupershow.com. Exhibitors so far include the likes of Everlast, Icon, and York Barbell.

>> Newly released government figures say Americans have grown by an inch in height since 1960, but they've also gotten a lot -- how do we put it politely? -- wider. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the average weight of an adult man was 166.3 pounds in 1960, but jumped to 191 pounds in 2002 for an extra 25 pounds. The average weight for women rose from 140.2 pounds to 164.3 pounds, accounting for an extra 24 pounds. But adults weren't the only ones gaining, kids are tipping the scales more, too. The average 10-year-old boy in 1963 weighed 74.2 pounds and was 55.2 inches tall. By 2002, the average weight was nearly 85 pounds and height 55.7 inches. For 10-year-old girls, the average weight in 1963 was 77.4 pounds and height 55.5 inches. Girls grew an average of an inch taller by 2002 to 56.4 inches, but gained an average of 11 pounds to 88 pounds. The statistics also show that Americans begin edging toward overweight by the time they are teenagers. The data is in the report, "Mean Body Weight, Height and Body Mass Index, United States, 1960-2002." For more, go to http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r041027.htm.

>> Workouts are going to the dogs as wellness experts suggest teaming up with Fido to battle the bulge. Pet-food maker Purina is offering a comprehensive wellness program specifically designed for people and their canine and feline friends -- "Purina's Healthy Steps Plan for Pets and Their People." The program is based on a holistic approach -- a combination of diet, exercise and environment -- and the collaborative development efforts of a fitness specialist and a pet expert. The co-authors of the program, fitness trainer, author and NBC fitness spokeswoman Kathy Kaehler and veterinarian Dan Christian, say that the needs of each person and each pet may be different, so they designed a plan that can be tailored to each "wellness team." (Their words, not ours!) The plan educates pet owners about easy ways to jazz up their pets' exercise routines, how to perform a therapeutic pet massage, and the meaning of vocal cues and body language of a companion. "Pets embody several qualities that make them ideal exercise buddies, such as consistency of routine, scheduling flexibility and compatible fitness level," said Dan Christian, DVM and executive director of the Purina Pet Institute. "The benefits of a pet workout partner extend beyond mere exercise to encompass overall wellness. Even better, teaming up with your pet not only helps you, it also helps your canine and feline companions attain a healthier lifestyle." Pet owners can select from one of three levels of achievement: Wellness Basics, Getting Fit and Healthy Together. Upon completion of a level, participants may revisit the site and select activities from the next level of their wellness program. To register for Purina's free Healthy Steps Plan, go to www.purina.com/healthysteps. And remember what they say, if you want to know if you are over-fat, just take a look at your pet. Meee-ooow!

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