Several decades after the seeds of the fitness retail industry sprouted, a core group is stepping forward to promote an association for dealers called Fitness Industry Dealers Association (FIDA).
To be run as a division of the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), in cooperation with SNEWS®, FIDA will serve only the needs of fitness retailers and dealers. The group will offer cost-saving benefits not only through existing NSGA plans but also through additional plans based on needs expressed by FIDA members as the group grows. One benefit at the start is a complimentary All Access SNEWS subscription that allows access to all archives, surveys, past articles and special features.
“It’s way past due for FIDA,” said one founding board member Albert Kessler, of HEST Fitness. “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.”
A “town hall” meeting will be held at the Health & Fitness Business Expo on the second day, Thursday, Sept. 23, at 12 noon, in the SNEWS Community Hub (booth #335) to meet board members, NSGA directors, to hear about goals, to ask questions – and to join. Light refreshments will be served, courtesy of the Health & Fitness Business show and SNEWS.
“I am encouraging every specialty fitness dealer to take time drop in the SNEWS Hub Thursday at 12 to do your part and join FIDA,” Kessler added, “because without your participation we won’t have a voice.”
Founding board members include David Burrus, Fitness Gallery, Merriam, Kan.; Mark Jeffrey, Fitness Depot, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Kessler; David Kutler, Body Basics Fitness Equipment, Omaha, Neb.; Rodney Rice Jr., Fitness Expo, Metairie, La.; Dave Sheriff, HealthStyles Exercise Equipment, Glenwood Springs, Colo.; and Ron Wilkins, Wilkins Fitness, Charleston, S.C. Click here to read a July 19, 2010, SNEWS story about the launch of FIDA, its board and its goals.
“Over the past few years we continue to see enormous changes within the specialty exercise equipment industry. With this comes the challenge of successfully navigating our businesses,” said Sheriff. “The Fitness Industry Dealers Association (FIDA) may not be the end-all solution to the answers to our questions and concerns in these challenging times, yet one of the key goals of this organization is to serve as a catalyst in discovering our course to survive and ultimately thrive.
“What a great concept — an organization of fellow associates and business professionals that all have very similar challenges, questions, ideas and possible solutions,” Sheriff added. “With the support of the specialty dealers, this organization could evolve to be the best tool and anchor we have as we guide our businesses through these times.”
A FIDA mission statement to be presented at the Sept. 23 meeting now includes the following:
>> A unified voice for member dealers
>> Advocacy for specialty retail interests
>> Money-saving group services
>> Research & information to build profit
>> Support for industry-oriented legislation
>> Community to share business interests
>> Industry awareness-building
>> Partnerships with related organizations promoting physical activity
One benefit, still needing more fitness retailers take the time to participate for valid statistics, are the results of a first-ever Cost of Doing Business Survey by NSGA. Participants are promised complete anonymity and will receive personalized comparative results for their time. Click here to see an Aug. 4, 2010, SNEWS story about the survey with a link to take it.
Questions? Feel free to drop a note to IWantIn@snewsnet.com. Or go to www.nsga.org.