Want to grow your business through direct-to-consumer and the omni-channel marketplace, but worry about alienating your independent specialty retailers?

Here’s a solution — buy out the specialty retailers.

That seems to be the strategy for Johnson Health Tech, maker of Matrix, Vision and Horizon fitness equipment, which this week continued to expand its presence within the U.S. specialty fitness retail market with a deal to acquire Leisure Fitness and its 27 stores along the East Coast.

It’s the second substantial U.S. retail acquisition for the Taiwanese fitness company, which acquired 2nd Wind Exercise with 58 stores in 11 states in November 2015. Two months earlier, it acquired Stak Fitness, a commercial fitness equipment distributor with a strong foothold in Canada.

“Together, Johnson Health Tech and Leisure Fitness will continue to grow and shape specialty retail,” said Nathan Pyles, president of Johnson Health Tech North America (JHTNA), which is based in Cottage Grove, WI. “With the addition of Leisure Fitness, JHTNA has almost 100 specialty fitness retail locations in the United States. That distribution network, combined with the product design, engineering and manufacturing excellence of our global organization, gives us a unique opportunity to fuel continued growth.”

Leisure Fitness will be merged into the existing JHTNA retail group but will operate as a separate entity with its existing management team.

By our count, Johnson Health Tech is now the largest brick-and-mortar specialty fitness retailer in the United States and the business could see a long-term boost with big-box competitors such as Sports Authority and Sport Chalet going out of business. Johnson Health Tech also now bills itself as “the world’s largest specialty fitness retailer,” with 315 retail stores worldwide.

Back in November, when the company acquired 2nd Wind Exercise, Pyles told Sports Executive Weekly that the business sees an opportunity to acquire specialty retailers as their founders and owners look to retire. He stressed how the acquisitions will operate as independent business units and continue to carry products and brands outside of the Johnson Health Tech family.

“People go to retail stores for choice,” Pyles told us. “I tell our brands that we have to earn our position on the floor.”

The moves also give Johnson Health Tech opportunities to explore more omni-channel retailing through the retailers’ web and e-commerce presence, he said. The idea is that consumers are increasingly researching online and then buying or shipping the product to a store.

Johnson Health Tech manufacturers fitness equipment for both commercial and residential use, including treadmills, elliptical trainers, exercise bikes and strength training equipment

Leisure Fitness, based in Newark, DE, does business through its 27 stores covering Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The company offers fitness equipment for both home and corporate needs.

“We’re proud to be part of an organization like Johnson Health Tech that continues to invest in specialty retail,” said Paul Bastianelli, CEO of Leisure Fitness. “Like Leisure Fitness, Johnson Health Tech believes in investing in great people that can deliver outstanding customer experiences. With our shared vision and customer commitment, we’ll continue to help grow specialty fitness.”