New owners, not new faces, at retailer Total Fitness

A change in ownership at Connecticut-based retailer Total Fitness may not be noticeable since the faces are ones that have been involved since nearly the start.
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A change in ownership at Connecticut-based retailer Total Fitness may not be noticeable since the faces are ones that have been involved since nearly the start.

Gary Catania and Matt Arcata are the new owners of the now eight-store Northern region of Total Fitness, finalizing an agreement with founder and formerly 90-percent owner John Valles. Rick Myers is the new owner of the three-store Southern region of the retailer, buying out the half that Valles had owned there.

"We're really thrilled about the opportunity," Catania told SNEWS®. "It's a dream actually. Total Fitness has been a great company, and now we intend to take it to the next level. Our dream has always been to own it."

Catania has been president and COO and has been with the company for 14 years. Arcata, who had a 10-percent share in the company with Valles, has been senior vice president of the company that began 20 years ago with one store in Avon, Conn.

"We both have our strengths and weaknesses, and we work well together," Catania said of the new partnership.

In the south, Myers has shared ownership with Valles since that area began nearly a decade ago. He has however basically run the show since he left Omni Fitness and approached Valles about partnering on some businesses that now also reach into the White Plains area of New York.

"It'll still be Total Fitness," Myers said, "except Gary and Matt will own their stores and I'll own my stores. I don't really see any change at all."

Although sharing a name, a website, most brands (including Precor, Nautilus, Vision and Body-Solid) and the power to buy in larger quantities with better discounts, the two branches are still separate businesses. Once the agreement is final for the buy-outs -- by the end of the year, Catania said -- things will continue as they have been.

"We'll run the businesses as two separate businesses, but we'll do a lot of the stuff together," Myers said.

Although the change will be transparent, Catania said he and Arcata will look at additional growth, perhaps about a store or so a year. Already, there is a ninth for their region scheduled to open in early fall in Massachusetts. That will take the entire business to 12.

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