After a decade of selling equipment in Europe, Star Trac has taken a full dive into European fitness by buying its German distributor, MPK Cardio Fitness, four years after buying its U.K. distributor Star Fitness and only four months after moving a managing director from Europe to London.
"We plan on continuing to work with our distribution partners to enhance our relationships with our end users," Michael Leveque, Star Trac Europe managing director, told SNEWSÂ®. "Our goal in Europe is to create the best possible sales and service network to distribute fitness products that users prefer."
Star Trac has worked with Munich, Germany-based, MPK Fitness since 2001 and began to discuss a purchase of its assets earlier this year to develop direct operations in Germany and Austria. The deal was sealed earlier this month, Leveque said via email from London, with all MPK employees becoming employees of Star Trac. Star Trac Germany GmbH will be led by General Manager Elmar Roth and Education Manager Martin Timmerman and will be Star Trac's head office for sales and service in Germany.
"The new company, Star Trac Germany, leverages the strengths of MPK's sales and service network," Leveque said, "and Star Trac's marketing and financial resources to create a stable platform for Star Trac's growth in the second largest market in Europe."
MPK began some 25 years ago as a manufacturer and distributor, making among other things foam-coated dumbbells, an air stepper and a stationary bike with screen games called the Tele3D bike. Its products were made both in Germany and in the Far East. Recently, MPK has focused on distributing commercial fitness equipment. The company was an "early adapter" of the Spinning indoor cycling program through Schwinn in the German market, Leveque said, launching it there in 1996. Since then, it has also distributed the Spinner bike, now sold for the Johnny G program through Star Trac.
The new office will exclusively distribute Star Trac and Spinning products as well as Spinning education. Because of its past sales and agreement, it will also continue to provide support for the Tele3D bike, Schwinn indoor cycling product and the Italian Teca strength line.
This move means Irvine, Calif.-based, Star Trac now has more than 20 distributors in Western and Eastern Europe, and its product is sold in 65 countries.
"We plan on continuing to strengthen our distribution on the European continent through working with our in-country distribution partners," added Leveque, who began at Star Trac in the sales department 12 years ago. "If an opportunity presents itself for further expansion of direct operations in Europe, we will consider it as a part of our overall European Strategic Plan."
SNEWSÂ® View: Star Trac may have had a European existence for a decade-plus, but it didn't truly get serious until a few years ago. With direct operations in the two largest fitness-focused countries on the continent, the United Kingdom and Germany, Star Trac is now positioned to take some huge steps throughout the European Union.