Powertec Fitness re-launches brand to specialty retail

After a short hiatus from an emphasis on specialty retail, Powertec Fitness will be back at the Health & Fitness Business show with a consolidated company, new products and new management team.
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After a change in leadership and a couple of years away from the Health & Fitness Business Expo, Powertec Fitness will return with a renewed focus on specialty fitness retail.

“Certainly, we understand the specialty fitness market has gone through a lot of turmoil,” said President Wayne Lee. “Navigating the landmines of the specialty fitness retailers has been difficult for all of us, and we feel there is a settling of that market now.”

Former Powertec executives Ken and Kate Domzalski departed the company in late 2009, and it was consolidated to the headquarters of its ownership, National Ventures Inc., in Carson, Calif., from Pennsylvania. Lee had been with NVI since 2002 and took over as Powertec president. National Ventures is a vertically integrated company with its own manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China, which also does OEM for other brands in other areas of sporting goods and recreation, he said.

Although 13-year-old Powertec has not been at the retail fitness show since 2007, when it introduced a new line of less expensive, single-station pieces based on the company’s Turbo line, Lee said Powertec has continued and even grown. Still, the bankruptcy of The Fitness Experience in 2005 was “a blow financially,” he said. (Click here to see that Jan. 24, 2005, SNEWS story, “Financial woes force The Fitness Experience into Ch. 7 bankruptcy liquidation.”)

Although Powertec (www.powertecfitness.com) does about 95 percent of its business at retail, it has in recent years increased its relationships with light institutional facilities, including universities and fire departments. But as the economy turns, Lee told SNEWS it is time to reinvest in specialty fitness.

“It’s good for us to support the specialty retailers,” he said. With sporting goods chains taking on higher price points, “it’s a tough fight for specialty retailers….I think they’ve been in a bind in some ways.”

Larger brands often treat retailers as their reps and not as a business, he said.

“I think some of the larger companies have left specialty retailers out to dry,” Lee said. “But there are others who do support them.”

What can retailers expect from Powertec at the show in Las Vegas Sept. 22-23? Better ergonomics, more leverage strength equipment, more free weights and updated equipment.

“We want,” he said, “to promote ourselves more to specialty retailers (because) it’s specialty retailers who supported Powertec in the beginning.”

--Therese Iknoian

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