Fitness: Did you hear?...Leisure Fitness is in growth mode, GearTrends® hosts H & F Biz party, plus SportsArt, Stott, Lamar, Octane, Nautilus, David Bowie and more…

Leisure Fitness moves to new headquarters, GearTrends® hosts Block Party at Health and Fitness Biz show, Donald Trump's "Apprentices" devise new Bally fitness classes, plus much more...
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For the week of Sept. 13-19

>> Continuing its growth roll on the mid-Atlantic coast, Leisure Fitness will be moving in November into a new 70,000-square-foot corporate headquarters -- more than twice the size of its current location. Since October 2002, the specialty chain has opened seven new stores, as well as a new distribution center. Also in October 2002, the company had moved from a 7,000-square-foot headquarters into its current 30,000-square-foot location. The new center includes 30,000 square feet of offices (including conference rooms and an equipment showroom) and 40,000 square feet of warehouse.

>> In other show fun, not mentioned yet: The first GearTrends® Block Party, from 4-6 p.m. on the second day on the Health & Fitness Biz show floor. With party pals (Stott Pilates, Fitter International and Lamar Health Fitness & Sports) helping GearTrends® keep spirits high, attendees managed to drain four kegs of micro-brew by about 5:30 p.m. or so. No, really. A raffle for attending retailers attracted a shoebox full of entries. Prizes included really good stuff, such as a Fitter balance board, a Stott stability ball kit, GearTrends® technical workout tees, Crocs shoes from Lamar, a $25 gift certificate toward a meal at the Wynkoop Brewery (from show management VNU), and a dozen other super cool items. Winners came from HEST Fitness/Texas, Bring's Cycling & Fitness/Colorado, Exercise Equipment Experts/Ohio, The Bike Shop/Minnesota, Niagara Fitness/Ontario, Bickel's Cycling and Fitness/Idaho, and Sacramento Exercise Equipment Center/California, among others.

>> Interested in exhibiting at a new health and fitness consumer show in San Diego? KTB Productions is holding its Health & Fitness Expo at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Oct. 8-9, and is anticipating 4,000 to 8,000 people a day. If you're interested in exhibiting, contact www.ktbproductions.com or call 866-582-3976 for details.

>> Octane Fitness has named Edward O'Connor as its new chief financial officer and Shawn Patton as its vice president of sales. A 19-year veteran in the accounting field, O'Connor was the CFO for the Japs-Olson Company, a commercial printer and direct mail production firm. Before that, he worked at Deloitte and Touche. Patton was the vice president of sales at the commercial division of Icon Health & Fitness, working specifically with the FreeMotion Fitness group. Prior to that, he was at Cybex International as director of new business development, regional sales manager and as a sales representative. Also, to accommodate growth and its expanding team, Octane Fitness has relocated its corporate headquarters from Andover, Minn. The new address is: 9200 Wyoming Ave. North, Ste. 380, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445. The telephone numbers and fax numbers remain the same at 763-757-2662 and 763-323-2064, respectively.

>> Rolling the welcome mat out, Nautilus is getting settled into its new headquarters in Vancouver, Wash. The building is a renovated 1970s-era technology facility originally used by Tektronix, Hewlett Packard and Consolidated Freightways, which has been vacant for the last two years. It features a sunlit atrium that serves as a history museum of the company's brands and products, as well as a gathering place. Although Nautilus said the facility is larger than its needs presently, it was offered an attractive lease price with a purchase option. Bordering residential areas that were short on parks and athletic fields, Nautilus tore up 1.5 acres of asphalt and created a football/soccer field, softball/little league field, basketball court, and a 1/3-mile walking/jogging/running track. Dubbed the "Nautilus Backyard," it's open to employees and the community. Nautilus' new address is 16400 S.E. Nautilus Dr., Vancouver, WA 98683.

>> Everlast Worldwide is expanding its original licensing relationship with Sports and Leisure Technology Corp., a division of E&B Giftware, to include the production and marketing of a line of Everlast "Hand-X" products in South Africa.
The products include jump ropes, hand weights, weight lifting gloves and belts, and handgrips. These products constitute a subcategory of the overall fitness products area and will be available for shipment to South African retailers in November 2005. Everlast Worldwide will continue to manufacture and sell its full line of boxing equipment, including boxing gloves, speed bags, heavy bags, mats, rings and medicine balls. Also, Everlast will continue to exclusively manufacture and supply boxing gear and products for professional boxers. Sports and Leisure Technology has served as Everlast's licensee for similar equipment in the United States and Canada for the past four years, and in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland since early 2005.

>> The Finish Line along with its charitable arm, the Finish Line Youth Foundation, has partnered with the American Red Cross in a nationwide fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
All 640+ Finish Line stores nationwide as well as 38 Man Alive stores are now acting as donation sites for the American Red Cross. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go to the American Red Cross, with Finish Line Youth Foundation matching total donations collected at Finish Line stores up to $150,000 and with Man Alive matching its total collected donations up to $25,000.

>> When TV reality show "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump premieres on Sept. 22, it'll include a familiar name to fitness circles: Bally Total Fitness. For the first task, Trump instructs his 18 candidates to create a new fitness plus class for Bally. Teams choose between two gyms in demographically diverse areas, where they create and market their class. Bally said the teams recognized the importance of customizing services and their ideas for a new group exercise class were smart, innovative and right on target with what today's consumers want. Looks like the ideas they come up with will be used nationwide. SNEWS® View: What a great piece of PR considering the deep and dismal financial turmoil the company is in. Used as a class nationally? If the company is still around!

>> In its fourth installment of its executive webinar series, SGMA is featuring a two-part session on product liability risk management.
SGMA's Legal Task Force has recruited experts to help educate sporting goods executives on understanding and minimizing risk related to product liability. Presented in two two-hour sessions, participants can "attend" from anywhere with telephone and an internet connection, and different members of your team in the same location can participate for all or part of the session at no additional cost. The first session is Nov. 2, and the second session is Nov. 9. The cost is $199 per location for SGMA Members or $299 per location for non-members. For more information, visit www.sgma.com, or call Chris Strong at 202-775-1762.

>> Westin Hotels & Resorts is making it easier for travelers to workout when far from home.
Inspired by the services offered in upscale health clubs, its Westin Workout fitness concept has been incorporated into its 21 hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In addition to revamped workout facilities with the latest equipment, Westin has also introduced a number of workout rooms in each hotel. Each features an indoor cycle or treadmill, DVD Pilates programs and a custom-designed fitness shelf that holds adjustable dumbbells, resistance tubing, a stability ball, yoga mat and medicine balls. The private exercise environment also features a fitness library by Rodale Press. Westin has also partnered with Rodale Press' Runner's World magazine to design certified WestinWorkout Runner's World maps that outline recommended 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) and 8-kilometer (5-mile) running/walking routes.

>> What would Ziggy Stardust think? David Bowie has apparently become a fitness fan getting into a shape for live performances, including one at the recent Fashion Rocks event. After kicking a longtime smoking habit and undergoing heart surgery last year, Bowie, 58, has been spotted working out at the Breathe Fitness club in New York where he lives.

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