Fitness Industry Dealers Association launches: Time to take part in the future

Several dozen attendees gathered at the Health & Fitness Business Expo for a “town hall” meeting to hear about the mission of the newly launched Fitness Industry Dealers Association (FIDA). Read on for details about the group's benefits and how to join.
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The new Fitness Industry Dealers Association kicked off officially at the Health & Fitness Business Expo on Sept. 23.

Several dozen attendees gathered for a casual noontime “town hall” meeting to hear about the mission of the association (FIDA), discuss their needs, and share concerns the group could address.

“Other industries have a voice and it makes a difference,” said newly elected board chairman Ron Wilkins of Wilkins Fitness.

Other founding board members also introduced themselves: David Burrus, Fitness Gallery, Merriam, Kan.; Mark Jeffrey, Fitness Depot, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Albert Kessler, HEST Fitness, Texas; David Kutler, Body Basics Fitness Equipment, Omaha, Neb.; Rodney Rice Jr., Fitness Expo, Metairie, La.; Dave Sheriff, HealthStyles Exercise Equipment, Glenwood Springs, Colo.; and Wilkins.

Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives of a number of manufacturers. FIDA is considering establishing a manufacturer-member category, according to discussion at a board meeting that morning.

The group will be run as a division of NSGA (www.nsga.org), which already runs associations for several different sports retail segments, such as ski and hockey. SNEWS has been instrumental in helping with FIDA's creation and founding and supports its mission.

Said newly elected vice-chair Kessler previously, “It’s way past due for FIDA. The specialty fitness industry has had no direction or help of any kind, and we have been pioneering our way to this point. I’m excited about being part of FIDA to help move our industry to cost-saving services to operate more profitably and get us a voice to be heard.”

NSGA already offers a number of cost-saving benefits for retailers, and the board will be looking into additional benefits that are needed by fitness retailers. At the town hall meeting, questions were asked about a website (it will be live soon), gas and freight discounts, help with store floor layouts, lobbying and other areas. If you have input or comments, you have several avenues:

>> Be in touch with one of the above board members;

>> email or call SNEWS, who will direct you to the appropriate person (IWantIn@snewsnet.com); or

>> contact the NSGA’s liaison for the group, Larry Weindruch, lweindruch@nsga.org or 847-296-6742, ext. 129.

Now, the membership drive has begun. Click here to download an application and information folder handed out at the show. As was pointed out, even if you want to “wait and see,” you can still submit it to remain on a list seeking information.

Noted by Kessler at the meeting was that memberships will be for a year but anyone who joins before the end of the year will receive a membership that runs through 2011, or several additional months at no extra cost.

To read a Sept. 13, 2010, SNEWS story about the association including a mission list, click here. To read the July 19, 2010, story about the group’s launch and newly named board, click here.

--Therese Iknoian

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