Fitness Movin' & Shakin': Technogym, True, Star Trac, GET Fitness, Life Fitness, Nellie's…and more

Check out latest news and moves in the fitness industry.

With the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing a thankfully successful memory, Technogym has a lot to boast about. The Italy-based company was once again the exclusive fitness equipment supplier. It equipped 20 training facilities including the main fitness center at the Olympic Village, 17 centers inside the different competition venues and, for the first time at the Olympics, two training centers for journalists. What a gargantuan feat to fill the main 21,500-square-feet Olympic Village facility with 400 pieces of cardio, strength and movement equipment. Daily attendance was more than 5,000 people with up to 400 athletes at a time working out, all overseen by 60 Technogym trainers. The company also outfitted 17 gyms in the various competition venues for athletes to warm up.

True Fitness had its fly-in of dealers the first week of September, attracting more than 170 customers to St. Louis. The attendees all paid their own way but were treated to a hotel night and expenses for the 24-hour window they were there…. Star Trac was recently recognized by Gold's Gym International as Vendor of the Year for 2008…. Smooth Fitness has announced that it was included on Inc.'s magazine ranking of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the nation for the second consecutive year. It came in at 4,568th. The list extends the magazine's annual top 500 list….

GET Fitness of Highland Village, Texas, on the outskirts of Dallas, only open since January, opened a second store earlier this summer in an upscale shopping area called Shops at Willow Bend. According to owner Charlie Hudspeth, who is working on building customers, "even a slow mall beats a fitness store with traffic." He said malls have casual shoppers who are looking in general and may stumble across them and buy -- or come back and buy. "They're seeing you." He also does a huge accessories business: "It's what keep customers coming back."

Jim Mangan, founder of manufacturers' rep group AWA, which includes clients such as Spri Products and Savage Fitness, shared recently what AWA stands for: "Always with Angels." He said he and his wife started the firm in 1996 and they feel "very blessed."… Nellie's Fitness in Southern California is down to three stores from four, recently closing its branch in Murrieta, Calif. Although the small chain was for sale "a while back," it is not now, owner David Delgadillo said: "We're staying with it."…

Changes afoot at Life Fitness: Dan Wille, who had overseen the consumer fitness division since it was separated out in 2005 (click here to read an October 2005 SNEWS® story) has been promoted to vice president and general manager for the United Kingdom and has moved to the U.K. as of August in that role. Tim Wild, who formerly led global planning, distribution and logistics for Life Fitness, takes on Wille's role as vice president of the consumer business. Life Fitness parent Brunswick had noted in a July quarterly call that although sales have been declining in the United States, continued growth is expected in other countries. Wille, who has moved his family to the London area, said the U.K. position was an opportunity he could not turn down.

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