Owner, Coastal Fitness, West Palm Beach, Fla.
What are some of the best-selling items at your store right now. and why do you think they’re popular?
Customers are responding very well to all the Life Fitness pieces with the Track Consoles. It seems like just about all of our customers have an iPhone. We are also getting good response from the Spirit XG400 e-glide due to the unparalleled smoothness of the stride.
The Body-Craft GLX is a good seller as a full-featured multi-station with the increasingly important small footprint. We have packaged several GLX to customers who only came in for a piece of cardio and didn't realize they could also fit a home gym.
What do you see as being some of the big trends for the upcoming season?
Customers are placing more importance on warranty, service and space efficiency than ever before.
What do you think specialty fitness retailers need to change about the way they operate to remain relevant in the future?
Specialty fitness needs to try to emulate how the PC specialty stores reinvented themselves as full-service stores with support. In order to stay profitable, you need revenue streams from multiple sources — retail, commercial, preventative maintenance and service. The manufacturers also need to shoulder more of the cost of advertising. As a whole, the specialty fitness manufacturers do not do a good enough job to create awareness of the brands.
How do you go about creating loyal customers?
Personal service, attention to details and referrals. Staying up-to-date on training techniques, different diets and other developments in the fitness industry is essential. You want to be a resource for your customers.
What are some challenges your store has faced in the past year and how have you overcome them?
Dick's coming into the market where the business model is to show 40 percent markdowns on the equipment leads customers to expect larger discounts. The quality between our entry- and mid-range price points and some of the SKUs offered by box stores is starting to blur. Knowledge and quality presentations are the key to instilling confidence in the customer’s buying decision. Also, finding the most effective place to spend advertising dollars remains challenging.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo