The Sam's Fitness Story
Well it all started nearly 9 years ago when my wife and I got sick of waiting for equipment at our local gym. It was crowded at 6 am when it opened!
So it was time to set up a home gym. I wasn’t happy with what was offered locally, it was either really expensive, very flimsy or in some cases both. So if you think gym equipment is expensive now, trust me it is not.
My next step was to jump on the internet. The minute I saw both the Powertec and Ironmaster products I fell in love – they were well designed and heavy duty. You just couldn’t get them in Australia.
Some old Ironmaster and Powertec product images
I made my mind up there and then that I was going to bring the products into Australia. There and then I decided to quit my job and become the Australian distributor for both Powertec and Ironmaster. It didn’t matter that I had no experience, warehouse or website. I made up for this with my genuine passion for training.
Photo of me demonstrating reverse curls on a Powertec Multi System at our first warehouse. This was my first attempt at showing how many exercises these great machines could do.
We started out in very humble beginnings at St Peters in Sydney. It was the worse place to sell gym equipment from, but it was cheap! The premises had a steep incline path the whole way up. So every box was moved by hand on an upright trolley. There was no pallet racking or forklift so all boxes were hand stacked by me. It was brutal!
But it didn’t matter that the place was old or I had no idea about selling. The Powertec and Ironmaster Equipment just sold itself! So we needed to expand.
This was a 2005 model WB-LS Leverage Gym. The first time I saw I fell in love. The love hasn't died either - I am still training on them now!
The next place was a bit better, but still in the old complex at St Peters. We now had a forklift and pallet racking, but it was still a nightmare getting stuff in and out of the place.
I got tired of doing the heavy lifting so we got my old mate Matt “Trunk” Grimshaw in to help. Matt and I have been mates since kindergarten, so I had someone who I could trust to provide the same level of service and passion that had built the business.
This was where we filmed our first round of youtube videos with Brad Turnbull. Not only did Brad know his stuff, he was a real laugh too.
Now that Matt was onboard we were in a position to really move forward. So it wasn't long before we were bursting at the seams and needed to move again. Now it was time to get fair dinkum and moved to a proper warehouse at Banksmeadow.
The Banksmeadow warehouse was MASSIVE compared to St Peters. But it didn't take us long to fill it up though!
We had over 700 sq meters now and thought we would be there for years. Especially when the Global Financial Crisis hit. But the tougher times got, more people bought Powertec and Ironmaster. Why? When you are worried about money, you want great value.
Just when we thought nothing could slow us down, Alison and I decided to have kids! Like any newborns Jacob was a handful, but as you can see he slotted in to the weight training business no problems.
Just as we getting on top of things, we decided to go again. This time we had twins! Now we had our hands full – 3 kids under 2 years old! After a very challenging start, Claire and Chelsea have both grown into health and happy girls.
Around the time the girls came along I started to get more involved with Powertec and offering suggestions to improve products and develop new ones. I was lucky enough to go to their factory in Shanghai in 2010.
This was a great trip. I was treated like family and got to see that the Leewards group, of which Powertec is a division, shared a lot of the same values as I did. The factory was way better than I had imagined after hearing horror stories about Chinese factories.
Even though I couldn’t speak a word of Mandarin, a happy smile and an enthusiasm for our work, was all we needed to have a good time!
After the factory visit, Leewards asked if I would like to become the distributor for their new Sportek range of inflatable boats and kayaks. At that time we were going through a terrible time with our twins having a few health issues. So expansion was the last thing on my mind. But I never say no to a challenge and we took it on board.
Now with this new area of business, we started to plan to expand our warehousing. A bigger warehouse in our complex came up and we grabbed it. As you can see we have come a long way!
Even though thfe warehouses have changed, you will have noticed that the gym equipment hasn't. We haven't to chop and change between brands. Powertec and Ironmaster have been the back bone of our business.
Once we fully fill it, the new warehouse will have double the capacity of our first Banksmeadow location. It is probably 50 times bigger than the first place at St Peters.
Unlike some online retailers, our warehouse pictures are really ours. You can tell by the Sam's Fitness pallets.
When reviewing our new website, I thought I might update the story. In April 2013, I travelled to FIBO in Germany to work on the Powertec booth. Wandering around the expo I got to check out the Barbarian Line by IFS. At the time IFS was the German importer of Powertec, so I was familiar with the Barbarian Line. Martin, the owner, probably thought I was a little wierd because I spent over an hour going over the handful of machines on display.
We had been looking to expand our range for a long time, and after checking out these machines I knew that I had found exactly what I was looking for.
So in October 2013 I headed back over to check out the full range and we became the Barbarian Line distributor in Australia.
This created a problem. I mentioned above that we had not fully fit out our warehouse. Well we had completed that at the start of 2014. Before completing I knew we would be tight on space. So reluctantly we decided to put the inflatables business on hold. The gym equipment business was booming and I simply did not have time to move warehouses again.
Plus it is allowing us to better focus on gym equipment - we have a new range, more equipment on display and a new website to showcase it all.
So you can see that we are in this business for the long haul!
The reason I have gone into such detail, giving you a blow by blow description, is to show you who we are and what we have achieved. We sell direct to customers because it enables us to give you a better product, at a better price with better service. The internet has made this possible.
Sadly though, a lot of other fitness equipment suppliers have taken advantage of the internet and made outrageous claims about their equipment online. Worse still clowns have copied the Powertec and Ironmaster equipment, then claimed it is the same or better. We have even heard dribblers say that Powertec copied their cheap knock offs! If you hear that sort of thing you know you are talking to a liar.
The bottom line is that everyone is the biggest and the best on the net.
We do not claim to be the biggest, but we do our best to give the best equipment, price and service.
It seems to have worked. Our customers are happy and coming back for more. Plus we have actually become good mates with many. The new display area is sort of becoming a hangout and there has been an occasional beer or two consumed after an in depth discussion about training!
The beauty of our new location is that we are 5 mins from the airport. So even if you are from another state, if you are ever in Sydney drop by and say g’day.