Joseph Leal, service manager
American Cycle and Fitness, Grosse Pointe, Mich.
What are some of the best-selling fitness items at your store right now and why do you think they’re popular?
Dumbbells. In this community there are a lot of runners and walkers, and especially in the wintertime and off season when it’s raining that’s how they stay in shape. Plus we off a few different varieties and price levels. Also as far as popular items go, ellipticals and inversion tables are also popular.
What do you see as being some of the big trends for the upcoming season?
I’ve had a lot of people asking about the tread climbers. I don’t carry them but I’ve had a lot of people asking about them .
What do you think specialty fitness retailers need to change about the way they operate to remain relevant in the future?
To be honest with you obviously we’re all competing against the big box chains. We try to carry higher-end versions of what big box chains carry. We carry Vision and Life Fitness while the chains are carrying Weslo and Proform. We sell club series ellipticals and club series treadmills, which are going to last longer, have nicer features and are much smoother machines.
How do you go about creating loyal customers?
What are some challenges your store has faced in the past year and how have you overcome them?
Fitness challenges are essentially just getting the customer that’s coming in for a machine to purchase the one they’re going to use. The best machine for them is a machine that’s going to be used and if they purchase a machine they’re not going to use and that they’re not happy with in the long run, it was just a wasted effort.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo