Rethinking Retail: Not just a treadmill, but a one-stop shop for outfitting workout rooms

Coast Fitness takes setting up fitness equipment to the next level -- they'll even run the wiring for the entertainment center, do the flooring, put in the fan...but do they do windows?
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SNEWS® knows the current economic state is having a huge impact on the specialty retail business. In our occasional “Rethinking Retail” section, SNEWS® takes a look at different ways retailers are rethinking their retail strategy to become better at serving customers and keeping their bottom line intact. In this story, we focus on a fitness retailer who supplies everything a customer might need – a concept applicable to many other categories beyond fitness. Stay tuned to SNEWS for more in-depth reporting on the current economy and how it affects retail in ongoing stories.

One can go into any fitness equipment store and get an elliptical, a set of weights or other gear. Anybody can order the equipment needed – and even have it delivered – to start setting up a workout room.

Coast Fitness, which started life as a service and repair company called Fitness Repair Shop in Southern California, does it all – and a whole lot more.

The company (www.coastfitness.com) sells all the equipment, from soup to nuts, and of course delivers it and installs it. So far that’s a no-brainer. Here comes the step beyond the norm: Mostly for the workout centers such as those in apartment buildings and hotels, Coast can also do the flooring, plus wire, cable and finish the entire room – from TVs to computers to cable installations … you name it, they’ll do it or get it done.

“It’s a service,” Griffith said. “It’s part of the package.

“We will even mount (the TVs and run the cables),” he added. “We don’t really make any money (on the TVs).”

So why do they do it? Because it’s just easier for the customer to go to one company and get it all done as well as get service as it’s needed.

“We’re a one-stop shop,” he added. “We say we’ll do everything. We do floors, TVs, mirrors…. We’ll even do fans. The room is just done. We’ll take care of everything.”

At this point customers buying for their homes haven’t asked about items like TVs since as Griffith said they can go to many stores and easily and cheaply get what they need. But he doesn’t exclude that possibility – especially since the company’s new store as of August in Newport Beach, Calif. (the old Busy Body location) is more focused on home consumers.

“We like it to be easy for our customers,” he concluded.

--Therese Iknoian

SNEWS® View: The concept of doing-it-all to make it easy for a customer is one that can be applied to a lot of categories – think climbing gyms, university paddle centers or home bouldering walls. Although many specialty store owners may say they don’t want to sell what isn’t their specialty, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, as the saying goes. If your customers are buying TVs or other entertainment needs, why not fulfill those needs yourself? Making it easier for a customer could mean you have a customer for life. --SNEWS® Editors

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