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Ilan Katz leaving fitness industry, reflects on relationships and experiences

An email letter landed in mailboxes around the country Sept. 14 announcing that Ilan Katz, long-time fitness industry retailer and entrepreneur, had made a business decision to leave the fitness industry. For many, the letter and the news it held came as an unhappy shock that someone who has a long history of integrity, honesty, passion and truth in the industry was going to move on.


An email letter landed in mailboxes around the country Sept. 14 announcing that Ilan Katz, long-time fitness industry retailer and entrepreneur, had made a business decision to leave the fitness industry.

For many, the letter (printed below) and the news it held came as an unhappy shock that someone who has a long history of integrity, honesty, passion and truth in the industry was going to move on.

Wrote Scott Logan, director of marketing for SportsArt Fitness, in an email to Katz: “I can’t tell you what a pleasure it has been working with you over these last nine years. The world needs more people like you; people whose word is their bond, and are passionate about what they do. We all wish you extreme success in your new endeavor! Our industry is losing a phenomenal resource!”

Katz landed in the United States in his early 20s from South Africa with no knowledge about fitness, but ready to roll up his sleeves and do what needed to be done. He moved up to vice president at Fitness Headquarters in Texas. In early 2004, however, he moved to Florida to satisfy a personal desire to have his own retail business, which he called Exercise Solutions. It didn’t take him long to realize it was going to be perhaps more work than he imagined and living in Florida away from family and friends in Texas was not his cup of tea. Without apologies, he closed down in April after only a few months, admitted he learned some big lessons and moved back to Texas to start again at Fitness Headquarters. When that retail business was sold in August 2005, he stayed on with the commercial division, Comm-Fit, while also starting his own etail fitness business, Stacca.com. Stacca will remain up and running, Katz said, and he will remain in Texas.

“He’s been a great customer and an even better friend for the five to six years I’ve known him. Whether it was during his time at Fitness HQ or when he started his own venture in Florida, Ilan and I always enjoyed our business,” said Paul Goldberg, vice president of sales for GoFit. “I was happy to support him during his time in Florida and although things didn’t work out there as he hoped, he had the integrity to pay every penny he owed prior to going back to Dallas. His ‘friends’ would have forgiven him if he hadn’t been so responsible, but to those of us who truly know him, that wouldn’t be Ilan’s way of doing business.

“Ilan is an innovator and understands the investment needed to be a successful retailer,” Goldberg said in an email to SNEWS®. “He was one of the first to jump into balance and stability accessories, and he foresaw the need to work with trainers and therapists to draw business in. Overall, he understands that successfully selling accessories is a great vehicle to selling the big ticket items. He taught me how to build a program instead of just ‘selling products,’ and I’ll be forever grateful to him for his knowledge. He’s been an asset to our industry and will be missed.”

Indeed, SNEWS® agrees that Katz is someone who did what he said, walked his talk, and gave you full trust if you also did what you said and walked your talk. His integrity and honesty were without parallel, and those were two characteristics that helped him build so many lasting relationships in this business called fitness. The industry will indeed miss him.

Now, in Katz’s unabridged words: