BUFFALO (WBEN) – New York State is set to release protocols and guidelines for reopening gyms on Monday, as the decision to keep facilities closed to the public has caused some panic among gym owners and a lot of frustration among members.
Conversely, fitness retailers have been struggling to keep up with demand.
“The biggest thing, really, is a bike boom in the U.S., much like in the 1970’s when gas prices went very high, and we had this tremendous demand for bikes,” said Jim Costello, the general manager for Bert’s Bikes & Fitness, which was deemed an essential business from the outset of the pandemic. “The fitness equipment, on the other end, that sold out right away – that sold out pretty much in the first two to three weeks after everything closed down.”
In fact, Costello says those who are looking for a regular bike will likely have to wait a while.
“Nationally, bike sales are up around 30%, and conversely, imports of bicycles are down around 25%, so you can see the increased demand and the very short supply,” he continued. “What I’ve noticed over the course of the last two or three months is that people are literally garbage picking bikes or buying bikes for $25-$40 and bringing them in to spend $400-$500 on them just to get them up to speed so that they can have something to ride.”
And while the struggle for gyms has been good for business, Costello says it’s tough to see any industry struggle within the community.
“I, personally, am a spin instructor at LA Fitness, so I can appreciate how hard it is for these gyms and fitness studios to survive, and any way we can support them, we will.”
Listen to Costello’s full comments below: