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A message from Sam's Fitness about COVID-19

5th August 2020 - Wednesday Update

IMPORTANT - Our showroom is closed - we have very little on display. Whatever stock we have we put online. If you are interested in an item hit the "Notify Me" button.

We can't show products that we don't have, and are uncertain of when they are going to arrive. Plus if we have multiple people doing sales - online, on the phone, via email - the same product can be solved multiple times. Lastly if we open the showroom we will have far too many people in here - all trying to buy products that are not here.

This is the same reason why we haven't turned our phones on. 

I am so sorry about this and feel your frustration. I do not want to make this worse by taking pre-orders - as people are finding out the hard way that waiting times for competitor's products keep getting extended. That is why I didn't do it from the start - gym equipment previously took a long time to manufacture. Now with the amount of orders is taking longer. There is nothing that can be done about this. So I don't want to take your money while stringing you along. 

Sorry once again. Trust me I spent a lot of time, energy and money trying to get people in the door before covid. Now I am turning you away. Be safe. 

21st May 2020 - Thursday Update

In all the updates I apologise for not getting back to messages, but I probably not have explained the reason why properly. In a nutshell, I don't know what to say! Plus we have found that answering a question, leads to more questions, and you are missing more emails while providing the initial person with no concrete answers. 

So let me explain. Before the pandemic, an order would take the best part of 3 months from placing the order to unpacking the container. IFS recently re branded all their lines to ATX and introduced many new products. I lost track, but maybe some containers were taking over four months. This is all part of importing - if it was easy everyone would be doing it. 

Anyone in the fitness industry will tell you that it is extremely competitive - selling equipment, PT's, gyms. To survive, let alone make money, you have to run lean and mean. There is very little excess capacity. That was why the ATX containers were delayed - they were dealing with extra production from their new range. 

Every year the factories close down for Chinese New Year. The official holiday is two weeks where everything closes, but there is a shoulder period either side as workers travel vast distances to head back to their families. So the factories are not fully operational for a month. Then the virus hit.

Chinese factories were closed for at least a month after the Chinese New Year. When they did re-open, they were operating on skeleton crews and practicing a far more strict form of social distancing than what we are doing in Australia. This affected the whole supply chain. A gym is not made in one factory. The pins are made in one, the seats in another and so on - similar to a car. If you don't have one tiny pin, you can't complete the gym. 

Even before the panic buying started factories were working at capacity. Demand may have increase twenty fold, even more, it literally went off the charts. Given this was a global phenomenon, and the time frames outlined above, it is clear that the demand could never be met. Plus you don't want the factories to even try. Ramping up production rapidly can lead to all sorts of issues. 

For generic items like barbells, dumbbells, plates etc, I could have farmed out orders to different factories and run the gauntlet on quality. I am not a gambling man and have stuck to my same suppliers to give my customers the best product at the best price. But this meant we had to stick to the supply times above, but with twenty plus times level of demand. It was like inviting fifty of your mates over for a party and busting out one case of beer - no matter what we did we could not satisfy everyone. 

The good news is that this problem is easily solved. All it takes is time. Gyms will start re-opening and demand will slow down. The factories are increasing capacity so there will be more stock. When this will happen I do not know - I could give you an estimate, but I know I wouldn't take someone's best guess as a given in the middle of the biggest upheaval of a lifetime. 

Patience and perseverance are vital for anyone committed to training - here is your chance to apply them in a different way. In ten years time you will be blasting away in your well used home gym and forget about the couple of months you had to wait to deck it out. 

Price Increases

In my early posts, I was saying how we were keeping our prices the same. However as some people have let me know, yes we have raised some prices. 

Anyone who knows anything about exchange rates will understand that we got clobbered for a period - we deal in both Euros and US dollars and the Aussie peso struggled big time. Once again I should have explained myself better - our margins will stay the same. We are shipping products at a cheaper price than what people are paying for similar products that have a four month wait. The exchange rate is swinging back so prices may improve, but with supply bottlenecks and all the other surprises out there I do not know. 

The other factor is our suppliers have increased costs too. ATX has made some changes and our cost price has gone up. 

I always try and price as competitively as possible. Sometimes we can get near or below the manufacturer. In the example below, our price is super competitive - yes the German price includes shipping, but shipping in Germany vs Australia is vastly different. For a reseller in a remote location, the fact that we are anywhere near the price demonstrates my commitment to my customers to give them the best deal possible. 



4th May 2020 - Monday Update

First of all apologies once again if we don't get back to your emails/social media messages. We are still getting more than we can ever handle in terms of responding, let alone providing stock. That is why you don't hear from us. From day one till now, my advice is be patient as things will return to normal soon. Whether it be your gym re-opening or we resume our normal operations with greater stock levels.

Secondly, thanks your messages of support and understanding. I only post up the extreme messages for entertainment value. In a business that deals with the public you end up meeting some real characters! So we are used to copping abuse every now and then, but thankfully the vast majority of our customers are nice people. 

Our Monday laugh for today is thanks to Paul......

From the start I have tried to be open and honest. But I must confess I have been telling one porky. Initially I was certain that we would be shutdown completely, just like New Zealand, so I was concerned about shipments being caught in transit. However over the last few weeks that has not looked likely. 

The reason I haven't opened up shipping is yet is for two reasons, the main being we have nothing left to ship! If most things are out of stock, we can't ship them. Secondly, the things we do put up are being sold out straight away in Sydney metro. If I open up the shipping range it just means we will have even more inquiries about stock we don't have. 

The good news is that I think the panic buying is slowing. Group training is already allowed in Western Australia. The other states will most likely follow suit soon. Things are heading back to normal. 

If you hang on, we will have more stock on the site soon shipping Australia wide. If you still want to buy a home gym, you will have a wider selection that will give you the opportunity to buy what you want - not what is available. Good quality gym equipment will last you a lifetime so it is worth being patient. 

20th April 2020 - Monday Update

It has been a while since my last update, the reason being is that not a lot has changed. But what has prompted me to make this update is we are starting to receive emails like this:

We have nearly had to call the Police because people won't leave our warehouse because we won't sell them anything. I have had people contact our suppliers complaining - even though these suppliers are out of stock too!

I am not sure what else I can do to get the message across - We would love to have your business and take your orders. We simply do not have the stock. We can't answer the phone , emails, Facebook/Instagram messages, texts etc - there are simply too many and all relate to stock which we don't have. 

We are in the middle of a global pandemic. It has flipped the world on it's head. Demand for some products is dead and has shifted to sanitiser, pasta, toilet paper, gym equipment etc. Out of these items gym equipment is a niche item with long lead times. There is literally no gym equipment left in the world. It is that simple.

That is why I haven't employed more staff. We are limited by the amount of product available. 

But it will change. There will be a chronic over supply in the future as manufacturing ramps up and demand declines. 

People are also asking for dates of stock arriving, putting in pre-orders or getting put on a waiting list. We are not doing any of this.

We could have filled a waiting list for all our stock arriving over the coming months many weeks ago. It would have been filled in a day, if not hours. That gives you an idea of the magnitude of demand. We could have then put in more orders with factory and sold all this stock before it arrives. I would have made a fortune!

Here are the reasons I haven't:

  • What if the virus breaks out again in China? One person allegedly started it, now they have loosened restrictions it could kick off again. It took the best part of two months of shut down to stop it, they might shut down longer next time. 
  • The lesson I have learnt from this situation so far is that things can change rapidly and significantly. Our cases of infections could shoot up because we are testing more. The cold weather could lead to more deaths. In New Zealand they shut everything down for a month. This could happen here. 
  • I am praying that this crisis might break the shackles of Big Pharma of making money by keeping unhealthy people alive through expensive medication. Hopefully someone will come up with a simple regime for treating (not curing) the virus that rapidly reduces hospitalisations and deaths. The gyms could open their doors again and life will return to normal, with more people embracing a healthy lifestyle. 
  • On a personal level, what if you order thousands of dollars of gym equipment that is due in 6 weeks and you lose your job? 
  • I don't give out dates of arrival at the moment because some shipments arrive early, some are arriving late. Sometimes products get left off. Plus if I gave out ballpark figures to everyone, there would be 100 people expecting to purchase each item - there are that many inquiries. Plus with orders placed at factories now, they are being swamped with orders. There will be delays before the product even leaves the factory. One of our suppliers is already waiting for steel.
In a nutshell, I don't want to make a commitment to you that I can not honor. If there are delays and I have your money, you may have missed out on purchasing other gym equipment. Or you might need that money to feed your family, or the gyms might be open before it arrives and you don't want the gym equipment anymore. 

People are also complaining about hitting the "Notify Me" button, getting notified, trying to buy and the stock is gone. We could put up a tonne of weight plates. They would be gone in an hour or less. You are missing out because the stock is sold straight away. 

Every time someone hits the "Notify Me" button, an email is generated. The site was sending out so many the server got flagged for spam. The site also crashed because it exceeded bandwith restrictions that are in place in case the site gets attacked. That gives you an indication of the sheer volume. 

In conclusion, to the person who wrote the email above, your alternatives are:

  • buy 2nd hand equipment off Gumtree for triple the price or more.
  • pre-order (and pay) for stock that will not be here till July the earliest, if not longer. 
  • do #coronaworkouts with no equipment until there is an abundance of equipment at reasonable prices.
But most importantly I say to this person, please think of others before wishing misfortune on someone else because you can't have what you want. 

4th April 2020 - Saturday Update

We are finding people who buy our products and selling them twice the price. It is a free world, you can do what you like, but in this country's hour of need you decide to screw over people. 

We need to ban together, not rip each other off. Please send through any details of people who are doing this with our equipment and we will never sell to them again. 

And it gets better... There is a website called Ultimate Fitness Australia listing our products with the same descriptions. THIS IS A SCAM SITE AND HAS BEEN REPORTED TO POLICE. Do not buy from them.

All the ads on Facebook and Gumtree selling new stuff - if it looks to good to be true it is. Don't waster your money. Do push ups and body weight squats. More gym equipment is coming!

3rd April 2020 - Friday Update

The same conditions still apply as the 30th Monday Update below. 

We are not operating perfectly, far from out, but we are getting out orders as fast as we can. I am trying to tweak the system to improve it, but we are limited to whatever is the choke point. Just like Woolworths and Coles trying to restock supermarkets with toilet paper. 

We could do a lot more sales, but we might not have the stock now or be able to deliver it in a reasonable time frame. I know you are all keen to keep training but don't let your desperation lead you into making bad decisions. Think about pre-ordering - what happens if the virus returns to China? What about if we go into a NZ style shut down? I can't guarantee a time frame so I won't take your money. 

I know it is frustrating with so many items out of stock on the website, but this is the only way I see to handle it fairly. We put up what we have, and what we can deliver. So hit the "Notify Me" button on items you are interested in. 

Some good news is that we have received some new containers so will have some more stock. The bad news is that prices will rise - the first batch that has been bought with our poor exchange rate. Using Ironmaster as an example, our prices are still close (sometimes better) to the converted US dollar price. Not bad since Aussie operating costs are higher than the US and we are comparing to the manufacturer. 

Even after the price rises, our equipment is still the best value for money and we are not taking advantage of the situation. Just get on Gumtree or Facebook marketplace and look for 2nd hand equipment - some absolute crackers! 

30th March 2020 - Monday Update

The Showroom remains closed and we are not doing pickups - delivery only. This is no longer by choice, but by law. People are getting upset when we turn them away. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine turning a customer away, but we have to.

If we let one person in, then others expect it. Our showroom would be over run which happened on Saturday 21st and caused us to close for walk ins. Plus we are working flat out fulfilling orders that customer's have already been placed. 

After outdoor training was canned last night, our website traffic crashed the site. We managed to get it up and running not long ago. If you are calling, sending emails, facebook/instagram messages please understand we have got thousands. When and if we get back to you is uncertain. But having stock and getting it to you is the issue.

The good news is that the orders that we are taking for Sydney Metro customers are getting delivered in one or two days. That is the reason I am putting limited stock on the site. We are only putting up what we can get out.

Once again we are not taking pre-orders as I can't guarantee when stock will arrive, plus whether we will be forced to shut down. I reckon there would be a few places taking orders for stock that has not yet been made - by the time it gets here the gyms might be open. That is why we won't do it. 

To put it all in perspective, I would like to thank Phil an Aussie pilot who is stuck in Hong Kong, for giving us an insight to what happens if we all don't panic.....

"I read your COVID statement, well done! You cut right through the rubbish. We in Hong Kong have been living with this since early January. You are correct Sam, We need to stop hoarding. This is not the zombie apocalypse, our supermarkets here in HK still have food, our transportation system still works, the water supply intact. If we need something, we go to the shop and buy it. We are fine, and so will you folks back home in Oz. Wash your hands, maintain social distancing, mask up. if you get it,  yes this is serious but, if you are sensible and smart you will be fine.

Don’t look to a politician to help you, look toward your friends. We too had a run of toilet paper back in January due holding and panic buying, many in Oz laughed at Hong Kong, but look how quickly that repeated itself. Well guess what, our supermarkets have toilet paper spilling into the isles because everyone purchased too much when it wasn’t necessary. We need to take care of one another. In January this year we in Hong Kong were where Oz is now. Chill! relax! be sensible, practice good hygiene and maintain social distancing - this too will pass. The green shoots of recovery are beginning here in HK and China. Best wishes and good health to all those back home.

cheers & regards

Phil"

If Hong Kong can sort this out given their proximity and contact to China, an isolated nation like ours will be sweet if we all follow the rules and help each other.

Just so you know I am not discriminating, my wife asked me to bring a bench home because here outdoor training was canned (we don't have a home gym). I said don't be stupid. The bench will be on the balcony and will be in the way. After life returns back to normal we will be stuck with a used bench that has been rained on and exposed to the elements. What a waste! 

There are so many different ways to train other than benches, barbells and dumbbells. There has never been more information on how to do this, especially now. It is well documented that athletes of all varieties can make improvements by adopting methods from left field. Fighters doing dancing for example. Here is your chance to give something different a go.

When the gym opens back up you will be hungrier than ever and your body refreshed. 


27th March 2020 - Friday Update

The Showroom remains closed and we are not doing pickups - delivery only. We are trying to limit our contact with the outside world. 

We will slowly put up stock that we have available, however, we are only shipping to a limited number of postcodes within the Sydney Metro area. The reason is we don't want to take your money for interstate or regional delivery, only to have it stuck if we go into complete lockdown. 

We can't do package deals or add things to orders - what is up on the site is what we know we have in stock. We are still struggling to respond to emails - it is well over 1,000. Put in any delivery instructions in the comments field. This is the best we can do at the moment. Our equipment is cheaper than what you will buy 2nd hand off gumtree now that the demand has skyrocketed.

Please do not buy stuff and sell it off at a profit. I am keeping our prices the same because a lot of people are struggling at the moment. 

Finally, sorry if we have frustrated people. The volume of messages, phone calls and visits have been more than 20 times the busiest day in our whole history. Maybe even more. It is beyond belief and there is no way I would have anticipated such an increase. We simply can't handle them all.

We are not taking any pre-orders and I would be wary of doing so with anyone at the moment. There is one thing for certain in these times - uncertainty. People get frustrated when they ask when are we getting more stock and we say we don't know. We will get it when it arrives in the warehouse.

Container ships are currently being delayed, containers might get quarantined when they arrive - who knows? We could be locked down tomorrow for 2 weeks or 2 months, it will all depend on things that are completely out of our control. But whatever the situation always know that we will work our hardest to get products to you. 

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 Finally, I would like to give a shout out to all the mums, dads and carers who are currently doing their best at homeschooling. My wife is currently losing the plot and it hasn't been a week. I think we all have far greater respect for teaching as a profession - yet another positive to come out of these troubled times. 

Stay safe, stay strong and try to have a laugh!

26th March 2020 - Thursday Update

We can not handle any more new inquiries/orders. We have over 1,000 unanswered emails. We probably turned away over 100 customers at the shop in one day. Don't get me wrong I would love your business, I have been waiting for you for 15 years, but when everyone shows up at once we simply can not handle it.

We are working through orders as fast as we can, with the stock that we have available. We will not take money for any stock coming in because I can't give exact dates of container landings at the best of times, but I don't know how things work now. Will there be delays or will they come quicker? I simply don't know.

Plus there is the possibility we could be shut down at any stage. We want to get all orders out asap because who knows how long we will be shut. 

Welcome to the New World. The World has changed dramatically in the last few months - changes not seen since WW2. When any major change occurs, there will be disruptions. Just like toilet paper and hand sanitiser, the demand for gym equipment has just exploded. The market has increased over tenfold in a week. 

Gym equipment has a long lead time. It has to be manufactured and transported. There is going to be shortages. My wife went to Officeworks as she is no longer here at work but teaching our three kids. They too were flat out as people are working and schooling from home, which requires office supplies.

In this period of change be prepared for shortages of all manner of things. But we are doing our best to manage this. 

As a member of the community, I am shattered to see the desperation of people for gym equipment. No one loves training and equipment more than me. I gambled everything on it, worked day and night to make it my life. But when my daughters were sick I could barely train as I had to help look after them. I became a fat mess and was depressed - but my daughters are now strong and healthy so it wasn't much of a sacrifice.

Think about the people who have really sick kids or parents that need medical attention. They are crapping themselves not knowing whether to take their loved ones to hospital and risk getting sick, or stay at home and risk getting sick. That is a real problem. These are the people we need to be looking after.

Jump on Youtube and look at one of the thousands of no gym equipment workouts. Over the last few days, so many people have asked "I am just after a few dumbbells" - there are thousands of people asking the same question. In these videos, you will see movements that are far more taxing than anything you will do with those dumbbells. You might even grow to like this training. 

Please be safe and look after your loved ones. Training is for a lifetime, so this short period will be a spec on your journey. 

 

24th March 2020 - Tuesday Update

Apologies for not getting the site back up on Monday. We were still processing orders we received over the weekend and reviewing what we have left in stock. 

We can not answer phone calls at the moment. We have easily 100 plus calls/hour. We are trying our best to get through the emails. 

Please understand that demand for gym equipment has exploded after the gym closures. There is a long lead time for gym equipment, even longer considering the factory shutdowns. So there is no way we could have anticipated such an extraordinary event so far out. We are working hard and long hours to catch up.

Some good news is that we are expecting more stock next week. I urge again - don't panic - there are more important things to worry about than gym equipment at the moment. We will try to put up the stock we have on the site as soon as we know exactly what we have - we don't want to take money off people if we can't provide the stock.

Hit the "Notify Me" button on your desired item and you will get notified when it is up on the site.

 

23rd March 2020 - Monday Update

Sorry, we have had to close the showroom - we have to do this to comply with the new rules. Plus there are no warehouse pickups unless pre-arranged. 

Plus we can not answer all phone calls or even return messages. Please understand that a lot of people that were going to the gym are now trying to buy gym equipment. We are being overwhelmed. Unlike some of our competitors, we are not raising our prices to take advantage of this situation. Please remember these places when good times return.

I beg you to stop worrying about gym equipment. People around the world are dying in numbers. We all know people who have lost their jobs or been stood down indefinitely. Spend your money with a business that has looked after you and is now struggling. What is more important a workout or supporting a family in your community.

 

22nd March 2020 - Sunday Update

We have decided to halt sales for the weekend because we are currently swamped with orders. We would rather not take your money until we know for certain whether we can fulfil your order. Plus we want to get current orders out in their normal time frame

Most importantly we are doing it because we want to stop the panic buying. Yes, gyms are closing, but not forever. But if everyone cancels their gym membership they will be. Think of those that will lose their jobs. What is more important your gains or someone putting food on the table for their family?

I have been on a crusade for years to convert people to home training. I love training on my own, in my own space. Been doing it for 15 years. So it saddens me to see people just throwing away hard-earned on money just to buy something for 6 weeks or whatever the shutdown period will be. Our business is all about providing great service and advice – at the moment we are struggling to do both.

Everyone, please relax. We have got loads of stock coming. In the meantime, there are awesome workouts being posted daily around the world by people who are in lockdown and have no gym equipment. This is a chance to spice up your training.

If you want to get into training at home take some time and do some research. Let us help you build a gym that will give you years of enjoyment long after this virus has gone.

We will have the store back up on Monday.

Be safe and let's all look after each other. We are in for a tough ride. But like training, the harder it is, the stronger we will be at the end.

Sam Lucas
Posted by Sam Lucas