The Fitness Group now official umbrella for Precor Home Fitness, Texas Home Fitness, HEST Fitness

Actively seeking employees, the newly dubbed umbrella organization called "The Fitness Group" is now running not only Precor Home Fitness in the Northeast and Texas Home Fitness, but also HEST Fitness.

Actively seeking employees, the newly dubbed umbrella organization called "The Fitness Group" is now running not only Precor Home Fitness in the Northeast and Texas Home Fitness, but also HEST Fitness.

Fitness Group of Texas was the LLC formed when Bruce Thaler and then partners James Bond and Laura Capes acquired HEST Fitness in Texas in 2007. Bond and Capes have since left the business, leaving Thaler as CEO since about July 2008.

The HEST team is now in the process of opening a chain of Precor Home Fitness stores in the Northeast. (Click here to see a Nov. 17, 2008, SNEWS® story, "Precor partners with HEST team for Precor Home Fitness stores in Northeast.") Until now, the "Home Fitness" moniker has been used exclusively by Scott Egbert's "Home Fitness" stores in Utah, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Washington (where his stores are also called Precor Home Fitness). These new Texas Home Fitness stores, as well as the Precor Home Fitness stores in the Northeast, are not related to the Egbert group.

According to the company's new website,, The Fitness Group now oversees stores in a number of states, including Texas, as well as New York, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut. The domain name per Network Solutions was created Nov. 6, 2008.

As of Nov. 19, when a website visitor clicks on any of the above states except Texas the visitor is forwarded to the HEST Fitness website, showing stores only in six Texas cities: Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio. Texas Home Fitness links to the HEST stores in Dallas, Houston and Austin.

In addition, the company is apparently actively seeking retail store managers and sales staff, with online ads as of Nov. 19 on at least two sites, including Career Builder (click here to see that classified) and (click here to see that classified).

Compensation is listed as "uncapped potential," and the company's new director of sales Joe Gulino, a past sales manager for both Total Fitness and Omni Fitness, is listed as the contact. Mike Connolly, as of Nov. 19 still Precor's commercial rep for the Northeast, is also in part overseeing the growth operation, identifying himself on Nov. 17 in a voicemail message to SNEWS as from "The Fitness Group." Connolly, Gulino, Thaler and Precor representatives have so far declined official comment. Click here to read the Nov. 17 SNEWS story and see photos of one Precor Home Fitness store in the former Framingham, Mass., Total Fitness Equipment store being prepared for opening.

--Therese Iknoian

SNEWS® View: Although the HEST and Fitness Group team members, as well as Precor, have so far declined comment, it is interesting to note a common denominator in most of the states listed for Precor Home Fitness stores: Except for Maine and Vermont, all have Omni Fitness stores. Or at least still do. Precor had been a dominant supplier in the region with Omni (as well as with Total Fitness before it went dark in May 2008) before Omni's parent company, FHI, filed for Ch. 11 reorganization bankruptcy on Oct. 20. That left Precor with little or no strong foothold in the region -- and if you make a product, you must have ways to get it to the consumer. FHI is in the process of holding Omni store closing sales and will be reporting back to the court by Nov. 25 and will file its statements of financial affairs and other documents by Dec. 4, per the court. (Click here to see the latest SNEWS update on that from Nov. 7.) We are still awaiting an official statement from Precor. --SNEWS Editors



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