New York — Club Industry East, the East Coast conference and trade show for health and fitness facility management, made a strong return to New York this past spring in the heart of the theater district at the Hilton New York.

As always, the owners, operators and managers who turned out for Club Industry East represented a true cross-section of the commercial fitness universe. Beyond private and for-profit clubs, attendees came from YM/YWCAs, JCCs, hospital-based wellness centers, universities and schools, government/military (including police and fire departments), corporate fitness facilities, park and rec. departments and more.

Exhibitors included the overwhelming majority of leading equipment manufacturers, some of which were rejoining the show after taking a brief hiatus.

Last year in Washington, Nautilus, Body Masters and Magnum returned, this year Flex, Icarian Fitness and Star Trac showed up.

Russ Squier, Icarian's EVP of market development was glad to be back.

“Club Industry East has been excellent for us,” he says. “We have had very favorable reaction to our new products and expect to see this interest translate into sales.”

Attendees were treated to one of the most comprehensive free special event programs ever assembled for Club Industry East, including:

  • A packed keynote address by former New York Mets manager and current ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine who spoke about motivating employees and clients, regaling the attendees with baseball and business anecdotes.

  • A seminar sponsored by the USTA on enhancing tennis participation, which offered grants of up to $1,000 for clubs that adapted the marketing programs for seniors, kids and families.

  • An informative “how-to” presentation by Melinda Minton, president of the Spa Association, on the economic benefits of adding a spa or services in the health club environment.

  • The Club Industry Asian Spa Experience, a special exhibit hall attraction, which enabled attendees to sample Indonesian and Thai spa treatments.

  • A well-attended panel discussion moderated by John Agoglia, editor-in-chief of Club Industry magazine on “How They Do It: Best Practices in Eastern Fitness Facilities.”

  • “I've been to several seminars on management and strength training, all of which have been excellent,” says Mary Jane Stefanowski, director, Martin Memorial Health Center in Palm Beach, FL. “I'm at Club Industry East to see the new equipment and find ideas to help operate more efficiently. Being here is accelerating my buying timetable.”