HFB 2013: Attendees, exhibitors have mixed feelings about new venue and say smaller show could signal bigger problem

Sentiments about Mandalay Bay mixed; some say smaller show signals bigger problem.

After enjoying a few years of togetherness with Interbike, Health and Fitness Business was back to occupying its own ballroom at the joint trade show’s new home at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Attendees and exhibitors had mixed feelings about the new spot, and some said the lower number of exhibitors signals the end of retail as we know it.

“It feels like we’re at a wedding,” said Tuff Stuff’s national sales and marketing manager, Mike Ryser, as he waved his hand around the ballroom.

Julie Creed of BH didn’t have the same sentiment.

“I love it,” she said definitively. “This move was a lot smoother, the marshaling area is a lot closer and it was a lot less of a headache. At the Sands I had to fight to get electricity, fight to get equipment — everything was a problem.”

“It feels more isolated to me,” said Rumble Roller Founder Ron Johnson. “We’re seeing less traffic.”

To offset that decline in Interbike traffic he said he knew would happen, Johnson also had a booth at the bigger show in the main hall. It was worth the investment, he said.

Schwinn usually exhibits its stationary bikes and other fitness products at Interbike, but this year chose to exhibit only at Health and Fitness Business. Jeff Bitterman, national account manager, said the company would decide at which show they’ll exhibit next year after this year’s show ends on Thursday.

“The hardest thing about any new place is learning the layout of the land,” Bitterman said, adding that the show will likely go through some growing pains in its first years at the new spot.

Most people SNEWS chatted with were lukewarm about the venue and more concerned with the fact that the show was a few exhibitors short this year.

Some HFB staples, like Lifecore Fitness, were missing from the line-up this year. Owner Roger Bates told SNEWS he simply wasn’t seeing a return on the investment of attending the show.

The decline in the number of exhibitors — it was down about 10 from last year — also signaled a bigger problem some say: Traditional specialty retail is continuing on its downward trajectory.

Brent Swanson remembers when the show used to be huge, nearly as big as Interbike he said.

“Fitness shows have gotten so small,” Swanson said. “Unfortunately this is the only show and we don’t see as many buyers as we used to, but we still come to support the industry. There’s a lull in fitness equipment sales.”

Industry veteran Jerry Greenspan, who's president of Exercise Equipment Experts, said the end of specialty fitness retail for the home is near and retailers need to find another way to do business.

While some attendees liked the separation, many missed the added traffic from being physically connected to Interbike. Jay Vollmer of Power Block said he has a solution for that.

He said, “I think it would be neat if this square would be plucked and placed somewhere in the big show.”



HFB 2013: New exhibitor Triletics takes resistance training up a notch

An elliptical or stationary bike alone works a few muscle groups at a time, but attach the patented Triletics Cardio Bands and you’ve got yourself a total-body workout party. Triletics is one of six new exhibitors to the Health and Fitness Business Expo this year, set for Sept. ...read more


HFB 2013: New exhibitor Tag launches one product for total-body workout

As consumers seek out products that offer more for the money, companies are delivering multipurpose items. Last Health and Fitness Business Expo we saw a few products that alone provided a total-body workout. This year it looks like there will be more options for retailers with ...read more


New and Cool @ HFB 2013: Treadmill Saver

In addition to our continuing coverage of product and retail trends from this year’s Health and Fitness Business, SNEWS is shining the spotlight on new and cool brands and products that caught our eye on the show floor at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  Justin Hai, PresidentThe ...read more


That’s a wrap! HFB 2013 numbers down only slightly from 2012 event

The ceilings were higher. The lighting was better. The vibe was cozier. This year's Health and Fitness Expo, held concurrently with Interbike, moved to the Mandalay Bay from its previous home at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas without many growing pains. Numbers for this year's ...read more


HFB 2013: Functional playgrounds for adults

The gyms that look more like playgrounds for adults continue to take the fitness show floor by storm. At the 2013 Health and Fitness Expo in Las Vegas there was an array of functional training equipment on display, including cage-like gyms for group training classes, updated ...read more


HFB 2013: The glute-ham machine is back

Glute-ham developer machines are nothing new. They became popular in the 1970s after being featured in an article in Strength and Health about Russian weight lifters working the two muscle groups with a pommel horse set in front of wooden stall bars. But they’re back. At the ...read more


New and Cool @ HFB 2013: Ab Solo

In addition to our continuing coverage of product and retail trends from this year’s Health and Fitness Business Expo, SNEWS is shining the spotlight on new and cool brands and products that caught our eye on the show floor at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  The Abs Company's Ab ...read more


HFB 2013: Still seeking info on new, cutting-edge products

We’ve asked you once, and we’ll ask you again: Which new and awesome products are you bringing the Health and Fitness Business Expo? We’ve received information on six new products at the show but we know — with 68 registered exhibitors planning to attend the Las Vegas Show on ...read more


HFB 2013: CrossFit and outdoor workouts drive fitness equipment trends

The fitness buffs are coming back to Vegas, and they’re bringing all their cool new toys. CrossFit and outdoor fitness are the driving trends in equipment this trade show season, which kicks off with next week’s Health and Fitness Business Expo at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. ...read more