Health & Fitness Business '08: Free reg closing, don't miss golf, education big, numbers good

The window to register to attend this year's Health & Fitness Business show for free will close at the end of the week. With education, parties and networking packing the schedule, you'll not want to miss a good look at what's coming down the pike in equipment and accessories.

The window to register to attend this year's Health & Fitness Business show for free will close at the end of the week. With education, parties and networking packing the schedule, you'll not want to miss a good look at what's coming down the pike in equipment and accessories.

"Since announcing registration was open, retailer registration for the show has been very strong and more buyers have registered earlier than in recent memory," said Rich Kelly, marketing manager for the show. "There are many factors this year that seem to be influencing retailers' decisions to attend the show, including the state of the economy, industry trends, and opportunities for industry collaboration.

"Large numbers of retailers seem to agree that it's important to attend their industry's gathering this year in Denver," Kelly added.

As of mid-June, sponsors included FreeMotion Fitness, Star Trac, SportsArt, BodyGuard Fitness, Volume Fitness, Fitness Master, Supermats, Schiek Sports and, of course, SNEWS®.

Parties? Of course. Stop in at the HFB Happy Hour at the SNEWS booth, #305, in the Community Hub on the first day, July 17, from 4-6 p.m. Then head over to the Industry Party, starting at 6:30 p.m., again sponsored by SportsArt Fitness.

Numbers still strong, exhibitors broaden scope

Although SNEWS® always starts getting questions about who's going -- and rumors seem to fly about who supposedly is not going -- we are amazed at the preregistration numbers.

The show reported that store numbers are up 25 percent over this time last year pre-show (i.e. this number of weeks out), and numbers of buyers are up 20 percent over last year. Kelly said the strong and early interest is "a great sign for the industry" despite consolidations in the last few years. Buyer attendance shows a good mix of all the specialty shops, large and small; as well as representatives from key sporting goods chains, such as Dunhams and MC Sports; and a smattering from mass merchandisers such as Target.

All the big equipment supplier names that have been there recently will still be there, and the show sales staff is spending more time in these last weeks bringing in the small and new companies. Interest has been strong among companies offering goods that aren't necessarily traditional for fitness specialty shops, including nutrition, apparel, other soft goods and accessories.

For example, among these are Yoga Sticky Socks, a new company offering socks and mats for yoga; Accusplit, with pedometers; SPIbelt, selling a small belt with a pouch for personal items, i.e. "Small Personal Items" belt; and Twist Conditioning, offering sports training gear.

A month out from the show, exhibitor numbers are down about 10 percent, but show sales staff says it's not unusual for some small companies to decide at the last minute to be there.

Pre-show golf benefit

We've been pumping it for weeks but time is now short and the number of spots dwindling for the Third Annual SNEWS® Golf Scramble on July 16.

Click here to download information and a registration form to get yourself and your colleagues signed up. Once filled out, you can fax it to Tamra Hiltz, MDA regional director, at 303-753-9920.

Details: Check-in at 1 p.m., tee time at 1:30 p.m. Donations to play range from $200 to $700, with all proceeds going to Augie's Quest, searching for a cure for ALS and started by fitness' own Augie Nieto, the founder of Life Fitness and the chairman of Octane Fitness. BBQ and beverages after the round is over. Email if you need additional information.

Early morning workout

For the second year, the show will stage an "early morning workout" from 7-8 a.m. on Friday morning, July 18. It's your chance to test out equipment from various suppliers, get in your workout and get a free breakfast (muffins, fruit, juice, coffee/tea).

Pick up a floor plan at the door with participating exhibitors highlighted. Then go sweat!

Education by SNEWS®: Thursday luncheon, Friday forum

The Fourth Annual SNEWS® Fitness Forum, moved to the show floor, will take place Friday morning, July 18, 9 a.m. Listen to experts from outside and inside the fitness industry discuss the importance of industry collaborations, as well as the hurdles and benefits. Be ready to take part in a lively discussion! You'll be able to move seamlessly from Forum to show floor since the show opens at 10 a.m.

On the first day, SNEWS® editor-in-chief Therese Iknoian will discuss highlights of this year's annual SNEWS® Retailer Survey, putting key results in perspective with the previous five years. Get involved in short roundtable discussions AND, first-come, first-serve, scoop up a free lunch.

Both events will be held on the show floor, in the SNEWS® Forum area near the food court.

The SNEWS® Booth, #350, part of the Community Hub that was new last year, will again be the place to hang, with coffee samples free from Kinetic Koffee again as well as tables, chairs and sofas for networking. Come on by and swap news and talk with SNEWS®, pick up a magazine or two, meet the editors, or just put up your feet.

For more show-specific details or registration, go to To contact SNEWS® with pre-show product or event information (by June 19) or general inquiries, email