Health & Fitness Business '06: Show numbers still strong, new products to see, SNEWS® Online Lounge and java, plus more

Now just around the corner is the 2006 Health and Fitness Business Show, Aug. 3-5. Without mentioning all the news and events we've discussed in stories over the last few months, it's clear that exhibitor space will likely match last year's and buyer numbers are darn close.

Now just around the corner is the 2006 Health and Fitness Business Show, Aug. 3-5. Without mentioning all the news and events we've discussed in stories over the last few months (click here to see them all), it's clear that exhibitor space will likely match last year's and buyer numbers are darn close.

As of July 20, 130 companies representing 200 brands will be on the show floor in Denver. That will cover 57,200 square feet, including newest exhibitor Muscle Dynamics. With at least one more company still expected to drop in its hat, the total space covered could exceed last year, said show director Lance Camisasca, although the number of companies may end up being down slightly. New, returning or greatly upsized companies include Life Fitness, Nautilus and Cybex.

In addition, the latest pre-registration numbers show nearly 1,300 buyers (about 200 more than in 2005) representing nearly 460 businesses (about 30 less than last year). We will report final numbers after the show since it's hard to tell who will show or not until on-site check-in kicks in.

New products...yup!
SNEWS® can't cover the line-up of new and redesigned products here, but there are a good number. Think of this as just a teaser, an appetizer if you will, of what's to see at the show. As usual, SNEWS® will cover all the highlights and trends in post-show reports. But for now…

Horizon will show off its "Advanced Fitness Group" team of product developers and the newest equipment it's created, including two non-folding treadmills. SportsArt Fitness will (we know retailers are cheering) have its new lineup of treadmills. Nautilus will present its new range of cardio products, including its front-drive elliptical with My Stride adjustable stride-length technology, as well as a new series of treadmills for specialty. (It will also likely be about the only company showing workout apparel, which we applaud seeing at the show.) Diamondback is read to show off its elliptical and a new treadmill for women.

PaceMaster will introduce its first folding treadmill. Vision, celebrating its 10th anniversary, plans to unveil new marketing programs, as well as bikes and treadmills. Octane will for the first time show an updated version of its Q35 elliptical with a new look and some programming additions. Body-Solid said it will have, among other things, some price-point gyms to show. Prospot told us it will have a revamped product. LifeSpan will have a whole range of patented features to show as well as its new accessory line. Life Fitness will, for the first time in a few years at this show, have a large booth with a full range of retail product to talk to retailers about.

Other events
>> Opening keynote -- A speaker from the Disney Institute, sponsored by Vision Fitness, will discuss the importance of and how to nurture customer loyalty. Sara Jones, who began at Disney 17 years ago as an attractions hostess and has since moved on to specialties and degrees in organizational development and internal performance, will talk about the need for repeat business to a business' bottom line in today's competitive marketplace.

>> The Industry Party will be at Lucky Strike Lanes, sponsored by SportsArt Fitness, on the first evening, Aug. 3, after the show. Yes, bring your bowling shoes and thrift shop shirts for a truly good time and a chance for casual networking. The festivities will begin about 6:30 since the show closes at 6 p.m.

>> Body Bar Systems, booth #776, will have a happy hour to celebrate the release of its new Body Bar Flex on Friday, Aug. 4, at 4 p.m.

>> GoFit will host trainer Mark Verstegen in its booth, #547, Aug. 3, as well as Trace Armstrong in its booth on both Aug. 3 and 4 to talk about some products and projects they have been working on with GoFit.

>> Danskin Fitness/Fitness EM, booth #663, will hold seminars on the show floor led by Heather Hawk to cover both, "Attracting More Female Customers to Your Store" and "Strength Training for Women." Check with the company on exact times.

>> It's too late to sign up for an industry golf tournament on Aug. 2, but just to rub it in, Mike McGetrick and Brian Thomson of Green Valley Ranch, where the event is being held, will have an instructor "walk the line," as we are told to offer tips on form during warm-up.

SNEWS® events not to miss
>> If you don't know about the SNEWS® Forum, the second annual, you haven't been reading your SNEWS® now, have you? Aug. 3, 10:30 a.m. to noon. -- "How to Ace the SNEWS® Mystery Shopper and Upgrade Your Shoppers' Experiences" -- promising open and honest discussion to energize the first morning of the show. This year, we will focus on sales and training, so come armed with questions and challenges for our panelists. Panelists include John Conti, Tony Enrico, Chip Hunnings and Tom Richard.

>> SNEWS® Online Lounge and Java Jive -- Need a place to kick back a moment? Want to pick up the latest GearTrends® magazine? Put up your feet? Share some news, air a gripe, or just chat about what you've seen? Come on by the SNEWS®/GearTrends® booth, #169. Grab a free cup of fresh-brewed Kinetic Koffee during most show hours. You can also step next door to check your email in the SNEWS® Online Lounge.