To hone in better on the needs and interests of the fitness industry, SGMA has formed a Fitness Committee as a sub-community of association members.
The committee, which met for the first time in person at the IHRSA show in Las Vegas in late March, will act as a sounding board and idea exchange to allow the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association to create better communication with its fitness members and to meet its needs.
"We have such a broad range of sports and categories and producers," said SGMA's Kalinda Mathis. "We're doing this to leverage what the SGMA is doing with the goals each sub-community wants to accomplish."
Founding members are Seth Horowitz, Everlast Worldwide, CEO; Bill Sotis, Horizon Fitness, vice president of product and marketing; Colleen Logan, Icon Health & Fitness, vice president of marketing; Kevin Lamar, Lamar Fitness, founder/CEO; and Buzz Truitt, Nautilus, vice president of education and head of the Nautilus Institute. All attended the SGMA's first "Fitness Fly In" legislative event in September 2005 in Washington, D.C., and are SGMA members. Others could be added to the panel as needed or recommended by the group.
Although the fitness industry has not been known as an industry eager to share information or work together, the fitness committee seems to be working well, Lamar said.
"We show up and everybody lets down their sabers," he said. "It's not about a product catalog. It's not about a certain company. It's about how we do things to benefit the industry as a whole.
"This industry has come around to where we're starting to lay down our swords and help each other," he added.
So far, the committee has discussed legislative issues, such as the WHIP (Workplace Health Improvement Program) and PEP bills to promote PE in schools, as well as the IRS ruling that could allow prescribed exercise costs, including equipment, to be considered a medical expense.
In addition, the committee will work with the SGMA in suggesting and planning consumer information blitzes as well as public relations and advocacy.
"It's like the little mouse that roared," Lamar said. "Can we bring these things to fruition? We think we can and it's at least a start. We can work together to grow our industry."
SNEWS® View: This could be the start of a place to allow the fitness industry to work together to promote its broader message without being exclusionary or secret, as some current and past groups are or have been. It is also not like the SGMA Fitness Advisory Council of yore that really only had a life intent on distributing the money it earned off The Super Show when that show was huge, racked in piles of dough, and distributed percentages to each sporting goods segment. Since building and administering a group like this takes a large investment in time and money, the SGMA could be the right umbrella since it has an engine in place. Of course, don't be mislead, this ain't all philanthropy: We all know the SGMA wants to make sure the fitness industry knows it is now paying attention and wants companies to join up. However, with committees and actions slated that directly benefit the fitness segment, there could be more reasons to join since the SGMA is now more than The Super Show. We are eager to see how this group progresses and if it can become more than a flag run up the pole, but can indeed get something accomplished for the broader good. If the "little mouse" can roar loud enough to catch some attention, others from the industry may not be so far behind to add their voice to the tumult.