As the clock begins on yet another year, SNEWS® thought we’d all enjoy a look back at what you, our readers, found to be the most compelling stories of 2010 — the ones you clicked to read in the highest numbers. Some of the results may surprise you — they did us. Certainly, we expected to see our eye-opening investigative coverage of sunscreens from May 2010 near the top, but who could have imagined our investigative story on BPA from 2009 would also continue to be one of the most read stories in 2010? We’re very proud of our investigative efforts, and reader interest in our stories is proof you expect this type of reporting from us. We promise to keep delivering.
These are overall reader favorites by black-and-white numbers, but are your favorite reads on the top 25 list? If not, use our “Chat” function at the end of this report to let us and your colleagues know which stories moved, inspired or simply had you talking the most in 2010.
And, heck, maybe you missed a couple! Now’s the time to catch-up; just click the link (as an All Access Subscriber) to get shot directly to the story.
Among fitness subscribers, the top 25 most read stories for 2010 were (in descending order):
- Rethinking Retail: Stand-up paddleboarding a means to retail, gym partnerships
(June 23, 2010) The buzz over stand-up paddleboarding has grown louder over the past three years, and
Rutabaga, an outdoor specialty store in Monona, Wis., has found that the sport especially appeals to fitness-oriented consumers — and could be a path to partnerships with gyms and fitness retailers….
- Getting burned – Part 1: SNEWS uncovers sunscreen confusion, misinformation and FDA inaction
(May 26, 2010) Over the last eight months, SNEWS® has dug deep into many hundreds of pages of FDA documents, sorted through chemical names, poured over spreadsheets and databases, sifted through court documents, spoken to manufacturers, advocates, non-profits and scientists, and read reports and surveys. And we have found that the concoctions we ourselves squirt on our exposed skin to protect ourselves from burns and, we hope, cancer, may not be worth the plastic they come in….
- IHRSA 2010: Smaller show welcomes unexpectedly upbeat mood
(March 17, 2010) Despite a smaller footprint, the IHRSA 2010 trade show in San Diego, Calif., this month brought in attendees, introduced (or re-introduced) some companies to the industry, and generally had what a few called a surprisingly positive, energetic vibe….
- Three studies reveal surprising shift in social media use patterns
(March 8, 2010) Three studies, released March 2-3, indicate that Facebook continues to dominate and increase its place of importance among those who favor social media….
- The SNEWS View: Photos, espionage and more at our industry trade shows
(Feb. 12, 2010) It is perfectly normal for anyone doing business in today’s competitive environment to want to know what competitors are doing. At the very least, knowing or trying to find out reflects natural curiosity. More than likely, though, obtaining knowledge about a competitor is a result of trying to gain an edge in business. In corporate America, tales of industrial espionage are legendary. But for goodness sakes, folks, in both the comparatively small outdoor and fitness industries, it is getting out of hand. People are on edge, and unless we collectively focus on this challenge, things could go from bad to worse in a hurry…to the point of someone even getting physically hurt….
- Getting burned: Which sunscreens are best?
(June 14, 2010) Since we ran our three-part investigation in late May on sunscreens detailing the risk we all face due to FDA inaction and marketing hyperbole, we have been asked the simplest question over and over by retailers and consumers: Which sunscreens are best?…
- Think About It: OIWC asks, what do you need to know about finances to advance your career?
(July 23, 2010) Breaking into the outdoor industry doesn’t usually have much to do with good financial management. Sure, many of us may have put off a “real job” to hike the AT or risked a raise rather than losing out on the first chair on powder days. But even if numbers are not your area of expertise, growing your understanding of finance basics demonstrates your commitment to professional development and an interest in your company’s well-being — two traits that are key to advancing your career….
- BBB surprises Johnson Health with ‘F’ rating; SNEWS questions broader BBB inconsistencies
(March 24, 2010) A press release, news headlines and rampant industry gossip whacked fitness manufacturer Johnson Health Tech broadside after the state’s Better Business Bureau issued a press release announcing the Wisconsin-based manufacturer had an “F” rating due to “a growing trend of complaints” — without first alerting it to the pending release or seeking comment….
- FitBiz by SNEWS retail report 2010: Has the industry’s face changed … or what?
(March 22, 2010) Now that we’ve gotten past last year’s description of the industry as “dismal,” we have moved finally to glimpsing the tiniest glimmer of hope. Only a tiny bit, of course, but most in the industry will take whatever they can get. Even with that hope on the horizon, the doom and gloom that engulfed the fitness industry in the last two years took its toll on retail, especially at specialty retail….
- SNEWS Reader Poll: Do pro deal programs help or hurt business?
(Sept. 20, 2010) Everyone loves a pro deal, right? Well, not so fast. In a recent Reader Poll, SNEWS® asked whether or not pro deals help or hurt business for retailers. And, we also wondered about abuse. Boy, did we hit a nerve as the response was overwhelming. Interestingly, a significant number of retailers and other readers felt pro deals hurt business for retailers, though the vast majority of our respondents felt they help. As for the answers to our question of pro deals being abused…whoa!…
- The SNEWS View: Bitter employees post-company acquisition share woes with customers
(Jan. 29, 2010) It’s one thing when customers rip on a store, but, boy, you just know it’s bad when the store’s employees and managers are ripping on the store — with and in front of customers….
- SNEWS 2010 Fitness Retailer Survey – Part 1: Best, “most difficult,” plus sales trends
(Aug. 2, 2010) The annual SNEWS® Fitness Retailer Survey has a big story to tell yet again about the industry, its evolution and its health. With so much to discuss, we have for the second year broken up the results into a four-part series to run over the next few weeks because we don’t want any single question’s tally and commentary to get lost in what is typically a long, information-packed feature. This way we hope you can spend a little more time digesting each installment better before moving on to the next. This week, we start with, yes, the results for “best” and “most difficult” companies, also adding in a few more general, yet quite insightful results about sales and revenue trends and growth or declines in overall categories….
- SNEWS 2010 Fitness Retailer Survey – Part 4: Accessories ‘best’ brands; need for an industry association, trade show
(Aug. 23, 2010) This week, we present results from the survey on trends and brands in the accessories segment, as well as what our respondents said in this year’s “thought” questions about the need for a fitness dealers association and if the industry needs a trade show….
- Health Notes: SportsArt Pinnacle trainer research results; exercise against cell aging
(July 16, 2010) In a study just released by SportsArt Fitness, university researchers have found the “A-Trainer” cardio piece offers a low-impact but still high-intensity workout with heart rates and calorie use similar to running on a treadmill at a fast clip. Researchers found that exercisers got a workout similar to running between 6-7 mph, while experiencing a rate of perceived exertion slightly lower than a treadmill and also burned calories about 30 percent faster than on a treadmill….
- Congratulations to the new class of SNEWS Power Players 2010!
(Jan. 20, 2010) Insight and inspiration provide an edge that everybody can use in today’s business climate. Both can be found by listening to people who have become business leaders. That is the driving force behind the SNEWS Power Players — an honor that acknowledges outdoor industry leaders for varied accomplishments in different industry sectors. Contemplate their words to discover useful advice, tap into your own motivation, or find humorous and wise ways to overcome challenges…
- ‘Wearable Technology’ showcase introduces sports/fitness products and technologies of the future
(March 8, 2010) Technology isn’t just on a desk, in a case, or in our hands. More and more, these days it’s part of our clothing and personal items. Although we have seen jackets with built-in GPS devices, backpacks with solar panels, and heart-rate monitoring performance gear, these have just scratched the surface of what is possible — and what is being explored by companies and individuals globally….
- SNEWS 2010 Fitness Retailer Survey – Part 2: Strength-training ‘best’ brands, trends
(Aug. 9, 2010) This week, we present results about the strength-training equipment segment looking at best brands, equipment and other trends. In the next two weeks, we’ll take a look at both cardio equipment sales, brands and trends, as well as accessory brands and trends, where we also include a summary of our “thought” questions….
- Aluminum bottles you are selling may NOT be BPA-free
(Aug. 19, 2009) True or false: All aluminum bottles are BPA-free. The answer would be false. When concern over BPA in polycarbonate bottles reached a feverish pitch in late 2007 and early 2008 (click here to read the May 5, 2008, SNEWS® editorial, “SNEWS® View: BPA reaction driven by the power of consumer perception, right or wrong.”), those selling aluminum bottles benefited greatly as retailers and consumers scrambled for water-carrying alternatives….
- Getting burned – Part 2: SNEWS reveals how sunscreen chemical ingredients really work — or don’t
(May 28, 2010) We at SNEWS® have heard the warnings about too much sun exposure and the risk of cancer so you’ll find bottles, tubes and sticks of sun-protection concoctions all over at the home and office — in the car, at the front door, on the deck, in the office, in workout bags, and on the bathroom vanity. But what we found in our exclusive, in-depth, three-part investigation that kicked off May 26 stunned us: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which oversees over-the-counter drugs including sunscreen, has been unable to pass some of the most basic regulations for 32 years since it first broached the topic….
- Star Trac restructures, seeks new capital after president’s resignation, huge layoffs
(June 10, 2010) Star Trac hit a bump in the road on its recently accelerated growth path and has been forced to make massive layoffs and quicken its search for capital investors….
- SNEWS 2010 Fitness Retailer Survey – Part 3: cardio segment’s ‘best’ brands, trends
(Aug. 16, 2010) This week, we present results from the survey on trends and brands in cardio equipment. Still to come in our last part on Aug. 23 is a look at accessory brands and trends, as well as what our respondents said in this year’s one “thought” question about the need for a fitness dealers association….
- Chicago Home Fitness still in business with new owner — The Great Escape
(July 23, 2010) As various Chicago Home Fitness stores began to close in mid-July, SNEWS® began receiving emails and calls wondering what was up not only with Scott Egbert’s Chicago company, but also with his other “home fitness” holdings around the country: We heard bankruptcy rumors, hearsay about the entire holdings around the country shutting down, manufacturer takeovers and more….
- Questions, few answers, in shuttering of The Fitness Group’s retail holdings nationwide
(Jan. 18, 2010) Some two weeks after doors started slamming shut on the Northeast’s Precor Home Fitness and Texas’ remaining HEST stores, leaving unpaid employees and angry customers, there are more questions than real answers….
- Facebook fans may have more business value than suspected
(April 16, 2010) According to social media management company Vitrue, fans have a monetary value that can be represented in terms of media impressions. In a recent blog post to its site (www.vitrue.com/blog), Vitrue has determined that a company with a fan base of 1 million represents at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over the course of a year (assuming a $5 CPM — cost per thousand impressions)….
- Did you hear?…Dick’s sees ‘the Christmas light,’ avoids boycott by family group (Dec. 1, 2010) When is “holiday” a bad word? When it replaces the word “Christmas,” according to the American Family Association. In the days leading up to Black Friday, the American Family Association sent out an “action alert” to its 2.3 million member network calling for a boycott through Christmas of Dick’s Sporting Goods….