New company Lamar Health, Fitness & Sports has established a partnership with Fuji Bicycles, which will be the company's "selling partner" to get Lamar fitness products into independent bike shops around the country.
Fuji's existing sales force will add Lamar's products -- including the Universal line of cardio equipment and the Crocs footwear -- to its package of products shown to IBDs (independent bike dealers).
"This will also allow Fuji to be the only year-round sales team in the IBD providing great product to keep the dealers profitable year-round, with a focus on bikes in summer and spring and on our fitness products in the winter and throughout the year," company founder Kevin Lamar told SNEWSÂ®. "I also wanted a partner with someone whom I could discuss and share product innovations with. This will ultimately enable us to bring new products and technologies to market faster."
Lamar debuted his new company at the Health & Fitness Business show in Denver in August after founding it mid-summer. Personally with a strong background in the bike market after many years with Schwinn prior to its bankruptcy and sale to Nautilus, Lamar said he has wanted an IBD sales partner that has a solid sales team.
"Fuji is a partner as committed to the IBD channel as we are," he said. "As you know, selling to a network of specialty dealers forces you to keep your product line fresh and updated."
The Lamar company (www.lamarhfs.com) is the exclusive distributor to the IBD and the fitness industry for rubber-clog-like Crocs footwear (www.crocs.com), which despite being overwhelmed by sudden popularity and subsequent backorders have continued to grow in demand. Having fitness equipment and footwear to sell makes the Fuji team (www.fujibikes.com) the only one in the bike business with a year-round offering, Lamar said.
"We believe the dealer who has strong product to offer year-round will be in the strongest position financially," he added in a statement, "and will be able to more completely capitalize on the current fitness market growth."
A few fitness manufacturers have ventured onto the exhibiting floor of the national Interbike show in October with mixed results (see SNEWSÂ® stories, Oct. 5, 2004, in "Fitness Did You Hears," and Oct. 9, 2003, "Fitness suppliers pick up the pace at Interbike show"). Still, many believe that small independent bike shops are a growing source for fitness equipment.
"It just makes sense in this market for a bicycle dealer to branch into the fitness equipment arena," Pat Cunnane, president of Fuji Bicycles, said in a statement. "Both companies are committed to the IBD channel and now offer products to help the dealer be successful all year long."