AFIRM, the fitness trade group, announced that Sears has become the first retailer to join the association. Sears is the nation's largest retailer of fitness equipment, and the exclusive retailer of NordicTrack equipment in the U.S.

AFIRM said Sears membership signifies AFIRM's commitment to be relevant to industry retailers.

“We look forward to playing an active role on issues critical to the success of the Fitness Industry, and to find new ways to support consumers on their path to fitness and wellness” said Hugo Malan, president of the Fitness & Sporting Goods division of Sears Holdings. 

Sears Holdings is the 2010 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including such well-known labels as Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer.  Sears is the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 12 million service calls made annually.

“We are tremendously excited about Sears's membership,” said AFIRM Executive Director Chuck Leve.  “The fitness industry is made up of numerous segments and AFIRM must be relevant to them all.  Our public policy and market research activities are key areas where we see Sears playing a significant role.”

“Sears mission and AFIRM's are aligned,” said Leve.  Both organizations want to see industry growth, and greater health of society through more physical activity and fighting youth obesity,”

Boa Off-Set, Strive Also Become AFIRM Members

AFIRM also welcomed into membership Boa Off-Set, the manufacturer and distributer of a new type of barbell featuring unique circumference and cross section of the bars along with the torque provided from an offset weight load  – creating the most functional and muscle burning exercises.

“We're a relatively new company, seeking to connect with leaders in the industry,” said Boa Off-Set's CEO Chris Roney.  “We believe that AFIRM and its benefits can help us build our business.”

Boa Off-Set bars can be found in many major universities and professional sports teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks, University of Kansas, University of Illinois, and University of North Carolina.

Also joining AFIRM is Strive Enterprises, the world-class manufacturer and distributer of both adult and youth fitness equipment, featuring its patented Smart Strength™ technology.

“We are pleased with AFIRM's roster of benefits for manufacturers,” said John Salvitti, President and CEO of Strive.  “But we're also very impressed with AFIRM's commitment to fighting youth obesity through its support of PEP and PHIT.  These are issues that directly affect the bottom line of all fitness manufacturers.”

Also included in the Strive membership will be their Fit Interactive division, featuring 3 Kick, HeavyBall, and JumpQ “games for life.”