Woodway opens retail store

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

    Woodway USA, a Waukesha-based treadmill manufacturer, has opened its first retail store near its factory at W229 N591 Foster Court, just off of Bluemound Road.
    Woodway president Douglas Bayerlein said the firm is opening the new retail store because its treadmills, which cost about $10,000 each, aren’t getting much support from retailers that carry them.
    "The typical dealer is not giving us a very aggressive push – they don’t present the product to the customer," Bayerlein said. "If they don’t buy in, how are they going to get a customer to buy in?"
    Woodway’s treadmills cost much more than their competitors’ models because they are custom-built to suit the owner, last longer and are equipped with the latest technological features, Bayerlein said.
    Woodway’s treadmills are built using a tread design that spins like a tank’s driving mechanism. Traditional treadmills operate more like belt sanders, with a strip of material spinning around a flexible piece of wood or other material.
    Woodway’s treads are made of high-density rubber, which gives them shock absorbing capability, and are paired with many ball bearings that make the tread spin smooth without much noise.
    In addition, each Woodway treadmill is custom-built to the specifics of each customer – adding features and electronics as requested by the customer.
    Woodway’s treadmills last longer than typical treadmills, Bayerlein said, averaging about 130,000 miles before needing service. Traditional models average 10,000 to 15,000 miles before needing maintenance, he said.
    Bayerlein, who started manufacturing the treadmills with several family members more than 15 years ago, said a few retailers around the country have been successful in selling Woodway’s treadmills. Historically, those have been in the Beverly Hills, Houston and St. Louis markets.
    "Most dealers, if they have them on the floor, people get on them and if they have the money, they will pay the money for a Woodway," Bayerlein said.
    The company’s growth is primarily based on commercial sales to gyms, sports teams, the health care market and specialty training facilities.
    However, the company wants to have a greater presence in the retail market and sell more units for in-home use, and Bayerlein said the new retail space will give the company a dedicated space for just that.
    He sees interest in having a high-end piece of fitness equipment in the home increasing, especially in affluent areas such as Waukesha County and the north shore.
    "If you are dedicated to working out and changing your lifestyle, $10,000 is nothing," Bayerlein said. "The value system is changing. Some of the high-value people have lots of money in the bank. They can see that you can’t take it with you, so you should enjoy it while you’re here.
    "These are the people who are willing to spend the money on the best treadmill, because they expect the best from the rest of their life," he said.
    The new 1,600-square-foot retail space at N5 W22966 Bluemound Road, which opened at the start of this month, will give Woodway a better area to allow customers to try its treadmills and other fitness equipment, Bayerlein said.
    The company currently uses a small room just off its manufacturing floor for testing treadmills.
    "Think about the Kohler Design Center, what they did (to show their products)," Bayerlein said. "It will show our customers what the possibilities are."
    The new store will also give the company more room for refurbishing older treadmills. Woodway purchases and updates used treadmills from customers who have upgraded.
    Woodway is hoping the addition of the retail store will dramatically increase its sales for the home fitness market. Retail sales make up about 10 percent of the company’s current sales.
    "There’s no reason we couldn’t double our sales in the retail market," Bayerlein said. "Our other business is growing in leaps and bounds."
    The new retail store is the only one planned by Woodway for now. Bayerlein isn’t ruling out other retail locations for the future, and he has his eye on the Chicago and Houston markets.
    Woodway employs about 40 people and is expecting about $12 million in revenues for fiscal 2005.
    Woodway USA
    Address: W229 N591 Foster Ct., Waukesha
    Web site: www.woodway.com
    Product: Treadmill and related fitness equipment
    Number of employees: 40
    Project annual revenue: $12 million
    February 4, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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    Christine McMahon helps leaders develop strategies and improve speed of execution by developing leadership talent, creating alignment between business functions and improving communications and accountability up, down and across a business. She is co-founder of the Leadership Institute and is in partnership with the WMEP. For keynote presentations, executive coaching, sales and leadership training, she can be reached at: ccm@christinemcmahon.com.

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