Andy Venditti, owner
Syracuse Fitness Store, Syracuse, N.Y.
What are the most popular items in your store?
Probably the small, little gadget stuff that the personal trainers are using. The past couple months our big, bulky items slowed down with the warm winter here in the Northeast, and right now it’s the medicine balls, kettlebells, resistance bands, strength bands, and we’re doing a lot of foam rollers.
What are some trends you’re noticing among some of the new equipment, both cardio and strength?
I guess the trend that I see is everybody getting more detailed bells-and-whistles-wise – speakers and fans and more detailed programming seems to keep moving forward. I feel like the quality seems to be improving and cost is coming down in terms of treadmills.
What types of items are customers asking about that you don’t carry yet?
I try to carry it all. I think a majority of people are just coming in and asking what’s new, and we always do try to have what’s new. We try to set the trend – before people come in asking for it, we try to already have it.
How do you go about creating loyal customers?
By trying to be the spot to go to. We try to make it the best store in our market while at the same time offering the best customer service as possible. If [customers] do come in asking for something we try to go get it for them and do what we need to get a sale.
What do you think specialty fitness retailers need to do to remain profitable in the future?
I think just respond to the market, respond to what the customer’s asking for. Last year there was a craze with P90X and people were coming in asking for dumbbells and bands and everything you need for that program. A lot of retailers weren’t trying to take advantage of that rather they were waiting for the big treadmill and elliptical sales and it wasn’t happening. I think just responding to the market and new things that come out.
–Compiled by Ana Trujillo