Yowza Fitness launches online with treadmills, ellipticals

More than a year after leaving Smooth Fitness -- the company he co-founded -- Joe Alter has launched Yowza Fitness with a similar Internet model.

More than a year after leaving Smooth Fitness -- the company he co-founded -- Joe Alter has launched Yowza Fitness with a similar Internet model.

“I’m back in the game,” Alter told SNEWS® about Yowza (www.yowzafitness.com).

This time, however, the company will focus on e-commerce instead of branching out into brick-and-mortar, Alter explained.

“I’ll stick with what I do best,” said Alter, who left Smooth as president in March 2006 before totally departing the business in the summer of 2008. Yowza was launched in September 2009. Alter goes back in the fitness industry to 1985, when he was running a fitness store in downtown Philadelphia with his father. He first started doing Internet sales in 1996.

Part-owner in the business is his supplier, Greenmaster of Taiwan. Yowza will have many of the products for North America that the company sells in Europe under either its Green Fitness or Reebok Fitness brands. Alter said he also expects to get into table tennis in 2010.

At this time, he has four ellipticals, four treadmills and an ab training piece he calls the “Core-X.” One of the ellipticals, the Captiva, has a motion much like Smooth’s Agile Trainer although, for example, it adds converging arms on the upper body. Ellipticals have prices of $800 to $2,000. The four treadmills run from $1,200 to $2,000, per the website. All of the pieces have all the bells and whistles, he said, including iPod docking, built-in speakers and built-in fans.

The Core-X is a counter-rotational abdominal workout piece. Soon to come, he said, are workout regiments, as well as equipment videos to better explain and demonstrate how the equipment works.

With the economic slowdown that has many in sporting goods and fitness moaning about dipping sales, Alter said he nevertheless wanted back in.

“I love it. I missed it,” he said of fitness. “It’s a comfort zone. It’s nice to be in a business where you know what the customers think and you know people.”

About it being a tough time for new companies?

“I think it’s a good time to start a business,” he said.

And the equipment names? Captiva, Navarre, Smyrna, Sanibel…. They are all beaches and islands in Florida, where Alter lives.

--Therese Iknoian


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