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Longtime fitness industry sales pro James Bond will be opening his own retail store in Austin, Texas, jumping into a market that others are eyeing since HEST shut its doors there in late 2009.
The venture, to be called “James Bond Fitness,” will be open for selling starting this week while the business finishes construction, equipment setup, signage, painting and other pre-opening duties, Bond told SNEWS®.
“It’s not a huge surprise for anybody who knows me,” Bond said about the retail store he will operate with his wife, Jenn Bond. “My family preferred to be back in Texas.”
The single store in the Crossroads center on Burnet Road, in what insiders consider a quality area, is expected to be completed by June 1, although the James Bond Fitness banner was up this week. The site is within a mile of the former HEST location and less than three miles from both Fitness Headquarters and Fitness In Motion, both owned by Fitcorp. Albert Kessler has also said he plans to move back into the Austin area later this year with the new HEST Fitness.
Until mid-March, Bond had been working with the Leisure Fitness group out of Delaware as director of sales and marketing since late summer 2008 after he left his position as a co-owner with HEST Fitness in July 2008. Prior to the most recent Leisure position and the HEST operation, he had been director of sales for the former Leisure Fitness.
Since October he has lived in Houston, he said, and has been basically commuting between Delaware and Texas, where he was raised and his family still lives. He and his wife, Jenn, and his family, including his parents and sister, are all in Houston and will take part in some way in the venture, he said. He will head up sales, marketing and merchandising, while Jenn will run the operations.
“It’s a family effort,” he said, noting they will hire local help.
The tie to Texas and his family made it tough for him in Delaware, he said.
“I’m an entrepreneurial spirit and given the geographical challenges, there was always an interest to get back to Texas,” he said.
The corner unit in the center needs quite a bit of work, he said, since it used to be a tropical fish store — walls and ceilings are black, the floor is dark blue and there are black lights, he said. The lease was signed the first of April, he said, and his website URL — www.jamesbondfitness.com — was acquired in December, which he said was a re-registration of the URL that he had acquired years earlier for a business he didn’t undertake. The website is not expected to be live until the store officially launches June 1, although the doors will be open during build-out for potential customers to wander in and even purchase equipment.
Nearby in the center is a Benihana and Chili’s restaurant as well as a local Tex-Mex favorite eartery, all of which attract large crowds for lunch and dinner, he said. It is next door to an Avis rental location and nearby is Cycle Gear and West Marine. Several large storefronts in the center remain empty.
Suppliers lined up include PaceMaster, Cybex, SportsArt Fitness, Star Trac’s ST Fitness and TKO, Bond said.
“They are all vendors I feel really good about,” he added. At this time, he said he will focus on home retail sales.
“We are so excited to finally do what we sat down two years ago to do together,” Bond said. “We can’t wait to get to know our customers and continue to build great relationships with our vendors along the way.
“We have,” he added, “a ton of pent-up passion ready to go to work.”
Bond can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.