Fitness Movin' & Shakin': Altus, Fitness4Home, Consumer Reports, Expresso, Spirit, Home Fitness Equipment, Nevada Home Fitness, and more…

Wondering what industry players have been up to lately? Find out where Mark Ish and Ray Barone have landed, as well as the latest updates on Expresso Fitness, Spirit Fitness, Home Fitness Equipment and others...
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Mark Ish has joined Altus as national sales director, replacing Bill Goodbread who is retiring after nine years with the company. Ish comes from Wham-O where he was sales manager for sporting goods and toy channels…. Ray Barone has joined Fitness4Home Superstore in Arizona as a commercial market manager as of Sept. 28. "He's a perfect fit for us," said owner Bob Lachniet, pointing to Barone's experience, industry relationships and equipment knowledge. Lachniet began the commercial division just over three years ago. Barone was formerly with BH Fitness NA….

In the November 2009 issue of the Consumer Reports magazine just out (www.consumerreports.org), editors picked their top products of the year. In the fitness segment, they named the top non-folding treadmills as the Landice L7, SportsArt TR32, PaceMaster Platinum Pro VR and Vision T9200 Simple, with the top folding ones as the Bowflex Series 7, Epic View 550, Sole F63, ProForm Crosswalk 580 and Gold's Gym Maxx Crosswalk 650. Among ellipticals, the magazine picked as tops the Diamondback 1260 Ef, Sole E35, PaceMaster Silver XT and the LifeCore Fitness LC985VG. For stationary bikes, the Spirit XBR25 was named the top recumbent and the Schwinn 130 as the top upright. Click here to see what the venerable magazine tapped in its holiday 2008/2009 issue, as summarized in a Jan. 5, 2009, SNEWS story…. 

Since the Sept. 24, 2009, announcement on its website about a "financial hiccup" that has seemingly shut its doors (click here to see a Sept. 28 SNEWS® story), Expresso Fitness' vice president of sales Mark Urlage told SNEWS that company management has been actively working with its bank. "We're currently looking for a buyer potentially to buy the company. We have a couple investors looking to restart the company. There's a lot of stuff in limbo right now," he said, declining further comment. At this time, the company is not shipping new products to prevent additional liability. Meanwhile, Expresso is still in the midst of a patent infringement lawsuit with Icon Health & Fitness dating back to July 2008 when it was added as a defendant to an ongoing case involving the use of certain technology in computerized exercise. The case had been quiet until September 2009 when Icon filed a second amended complaint with a request for a jury trial. Icon's legal department declined to comment and Expresso's lawyer did not return calls requesting comment….

Spirit Fitness has made some changes: John Gibbs is no longer president, moving to work with Spirit's parent Dyaco in a non-fitness division. John H. Leazer III left the company mid-summer. Don Puerling, marketing manager since mid-2008, has also left the company. Chris Cox, who joined Dyaco in a product development role in May 2009 and took over as Dyaco's North American president in August, will also take on Spirit leadership duties. Cox said the company has reassessed its resources with the current economy and felt it needed to be sized differently. Sales inquiries will go to Todd Udowitch, toddu@spiritfitness.com, and Cox can be reached at chris@dyaco.com.tw.

More retail updates: Mike Peters, eight-year operator of Home Fitness Equipment in Pennsylvania, has closed his retail store, but is at this time continuing to do service. "It just stopped doing well," he told SNEWS® in late August. "The sales volume just fell off a cliff." He said he shut his store in August after paying all his bills and fulfilling all of his customers' orders…. Justin Maison is finalizing a website for his five-month-old retail venture in Reno, Nev., Nevada Home Fitness (www.nevadahomefitness.net), and planning a commercial showroom for the fall. Maison is former Busy Body Home Fitness manager and can be reached at jmaison@nevadahomefitness.netor 775-852-0300.

--Therese Iknoian and Wendy Geister

Got any news or tips about somebody, some product, or some company doing some moving or shaking? Let us know so we can slip it into our occasional Movin' & Shakin' updates. Just email snewsbox@snewsnet.com.

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For March 7 to 13 Don't worry your little heads. Woody Fisher, sales dude for Spirit, is still there (to be kicked around) despite an email he sent out asking folks to use a non-Spirit email to reach him. Seems the company is bustin' at the seams and they worked out an ...read more