Amid little fanfare, True Fitness recently opened a 5,000-square-foot Educational Center with several murals and furniture resembling True equipment inside its new distribution facility at the company's global headquarters in O'Fallon, Mo.
"Many of our own employees haven't been inside yet, and they are dying to see it," Frank Trulaske, the CEO of True Fitness, told SNEWS in a recent chat. "We're hoping to hold a big grand opening celebration in January."
Originally scheduled to open this summer but held up by construction and permit delays, the center features two dimensions, Trulaske said: a showroom for facility floor planning and product merchandising, and a high-tech area for training sessions and meetings.
But this is no ordinary fitness equipment warehouse. Get this: The center incorporates several different lighting systems, curved walls, large 40-foot-by-10-foot windows and tiled and carpeted areas. It includes lots of open space in order to customize equipment configurations for various dealers and customers such as health clubs, hospitality or corporate fitness centers so they can really see what they'll have and how it fits and looks.
Another distinguishing feature of the True Educational Center is a huge 12-foot-by-64-foot mural that the company commissioned professional artist Richard Goodwin to paint on one curved wall.
"We call it a lifestyle mural," said Trulaske. "It shows healthy activities, such as golf, tennis and kayaking, plus nature scenes -- basically a hodgepodge of everything that we are all about. We're not just in the equipment business -- we're helping people live long and healthy lives."
On the education side, an expansive conference room is equipped with videoconferencing capabilities, a sound system, video and DVD production equipment and advanced machinery for live presentations. Even the furniture sports a similar design and look to the company's fitness equipment.
Not to be outdone, this area also has a 12-foot-by-64-foot mural depicting an array of manufacturing processes that is said to illustrate True's "Intelligent Engineering."
The center is dedicated exclusively to employee, dealer, customer, servicer and fitness professional education, training and meetings, accommodating up to 125 people. John Conti, True's national regional sales manager, is responsible for overseeing the facility and scheduling all sessions.
An outside consultant developed the design and decoration of the True Educational Center, Trulaske said, admitting that although the space was allocated long ago, a lot of additional costs cropped up.
"We're trying to be the leader here and needed something that was very creative," Trulaske said. "We spent more than we planned but we had to do it right since, at the end of the day, this had to be consistent with our mission: Deliver the best.
"We really needed to be able to show people our entire lines in the right setting," he continued. "This is really the right way to help people make decisions, and we gain a lot of credibility with commercial equipment buyers."
Trulaske is confident that this addition will be extremely helpful -- particularly when he thinks about the costs associated with hauling equipment to locally leased space, where most large meetings previously were held.
"We've had great feedback so far, and our goal is to keep improving," Trulaske told us. "I think people see True as a real player when they witness this kind of commitment."