With this honor G&G will receive:
The criteria for Retailer of the Year are:
When considering our first ever recipient of Fitness Shop Edge’s Retailer of the year award, G&G Fitness quickly became a candidate thanks to the successful history between our two organizations. G&G has been a member of our group since 2016 and in 2019, when we decided that it was time to grow the Fitness side of our business G&G was an integral part of that growth. CCA Sports Retail Services was rebranded to Fitness Shop Edge and our consumer financing program was rebranded to Freedom To Play. To spread our message and new vision, we enlisted the help of Tim Garbach from G&G to assist with getting the word out. Tim was excited about the idea of growing Fitness Shop Edge and started connecting with retailers that he knew would benefit from the programs and services that we provide. Fast forward to 2023, we went from 30 locations to more than 100!
The folks at G&G are always willing to speak to other retailers about the programs and to share their knowledge and experience with offering financing. We are proud to have them in our organization and congratulate them on winning Fitness Shop Edge’s inaugural award of Retailer of the Year!
Can you share a brief history of your store? With that history in mind, what has been the greatest change you have experienced over the years?
We are G&G Fitness Equipment, founded by Gordon Gronkowski in 1990. Based in Buffalo, NY, with 14 brick and mortar stores throughout NY, PA, OH and IN as well as Outside Consultants throughout the 10 surrounding states. We consult, supply and service premium fitness equipment. Our goal is to be the best, most knowledgeable and professional fitness equipment supplier in the USA. Fitness is evolving, and the equipment we use in our daily lives has to keep up. It is imperative that we stay on top of trends while having the confidence to stick to the tried-and-true! Most people would like to live a healthier, more fitness-oriented life, but many are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information online, much of it contradictory. Our biggest aim is to clear the way for our customers and help them in choosing, starting, and sticking with the right equipment and a fitness plan that works for them.
G&G is a family run business – What is it like working in that environment?
You try working for a jacked guy who raised 5 pro-athlete sons! All kidding aside, it’s an incredibly tight knit, positive environment. We work hard but we play hard. Gordy would have it no other way. We expect a lot because our customers deserve it. You don’t want to be the person who doesn’t know the specifications of a piece of fitness equipment and why it matters. We DO want to be the best for our customers because to get that phone call that he or she hit a fitness goal you helped to make happen—there’s no better feeling. As the company continues to grow, we realize the importance of keeping the family run business atmosphere. For that reason, once a year, we shut everything (but the deliveries!) down to participate in a company retreat where we bring our vendors and employees together to learn, present awards, share best practices and have fun. There might also be some team cornhole and flip cup tournaments! This approach also works well for our customers: Gordy knows that his name is on the business, and gives us as the workers the freedom to help customers as needed and to make sure things are right, whether that might mean opening the store early to help a customer with health concerns, running a customer with fitness questions through a workout in the store, or assisting our customers with financing plans that fit into their budgets.
What one piece of advice or best practice would you share with the industry as we look to the future?
The best practice is to keep your passion burning. You get into the fitness equipment industry because you love helping to transform your clients and you realize how important that transformation is to them. If you’re fortunate enough to sell premium, well-made fitness equipment, don’t be afraid to show your customers the best. Individual fitness has many starts and stops and bends and twists. It might feel more important at times and less important in the moments in between but it’s gotta be there for the long game. Don’t give your customers the “just good enough” in your arsenal of choices. Find out the hallmarks of your premium choices because those things are probably the most important to keep your customers prioritizing fitness and realizing the positive transformations as a result. After all, we are all more likely to find ways to stick with the things that we love, so if we can make you love your equipment, we are helping you to increase your quality of life, and that is a great feeling.
How has offering Freedom To Play impacted your shops over the years?
Freedom to Play has been a great addition to our value offering for a couple reasons. Our goal is to eliminate as many pain points as possible for our customers- especially when it comes to parting with their dollars and cents. As we experience higher average ticket values, that translates into better experiences for our customers. Think about it. By offering deferred financing options at 0%, our customers can purchase complimentary products that enhance their ability to get healthier NOW, but allow them to pay for it over a period of time in which they are comfortable doing so. Freedom to Play has hands-down the most competitive rates for financing, thus lessening the hesitation for fitness consultants to really get behind it- especially during buy down periods. We can get creative with our customers to tailor payment solutions that are comfortable and easy. The online portal is simple. Store managers can review approvals and funding reports with a few clicks of the mouse. The AMEX offering is further proof FTP has our best interest in mind. Here’s a profound statement: We like saying “yes” instead of “no!” In the past, accepting AMEX was painful. With the pre-negotiated AMEX group rates, we can confidently accept it with better rates than we’d get on our own and stay focused on our customers becoming the owners of fitness equipment. FTP has also been great on the advertising front. Everything that gets printed is promoting our own brand, whether it be the Freedom to Play cards for our customers, the in-store POP or the direct mail initiatives they offer. Admittedly, there are things I need to explore further about the program that are quite useful such as the free recruiting tools offered on different job portals. Talent acquisition is huge and much needed in the current market.
How has the staff at Fitness Shop Edge affected your use of the Synchrony Freedom To Play program?
Lacey and Matt are Rockstars! They have our back. They are extremely responsive and passionate about their mission. They are constantly bringing new, creative ways for us to connect with our customers and are agile enough to make quick decisions so we can show value to our customers without a ton of red tape and indecision. I appreciate the help with training and cutting through the clutter so we can do what we do best- provide fitness equipment solutions to our customers. Our fitness consultants are expected to perform with operational excellence and they make what could frankly be a load of paperwork simple and streamlined.