DENVER, CO (BRAIN)—Chris Kegel’s Wheel & Sprocket is Wisconsin’s biggest bicycle dealership with six locations. But Kegel sells more than just bikes. Among the Giants and Treks, customers will find treadmills from Horizon and Nautilus, elliptical trainers from Schwinn, as well as the CycleOps Powertap system from Saris. So it was no surprise to see him at this year’s Health & Fitness Business Expo.
Kegel was at the show to look over new lines and new products. Fitness sales, he said, offer his stores a counter-cyclical punch to the sales season especially when the weather turns cold in Wisconsin.
But it was Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, representing LeMond Fitness, who was among the most popular of the celebrity athletes attending the expo. LeMond, who helped lead a roster of more than 70 fitness industry executives and retailers at the annual SNEWS Golf Scramble, was besieged with questions and requests for autographs while at the Gear Trends booth. Gear Trends, owned by Therese Ikonian and Michael Hodgson, publish newsletters, gear guides and other products in the fitness and outdoor industry.
LeMond, affable and talkative as he fielded dozens of questions, helped generate more than $6,000 in cash at the golf outing to raise money for ALS research. Bill Austin, president and CEO of Raleigh America and its Diamondback line of fitness equipment and a golf event participant, described the golf event as “superbly organized.”
Austin also spent time with fitness retailers who came to check out Diamondback, a strong and growing fitness brand as well as a leading bicycle brand among multi-sport retailers. Among other companies exhibiting were Accell Fitness with its Tunturi and Bremshey lines, Lamar Health and Fitness, Life Fitness, Precor and others. Meanwhile, Lance Camiscasca, show director, said the three-day expo covered more than 100,000 square feet of floor space at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver.
The show, while modest in size compared to Interbike, attracted almost 700 buyers representing 300 specialty retail stores. Camiscasa described the show as “pure business” as dealers come to write orders for winter delivery. -Marc Sani