Med-Fit buys plant, plans to expand production

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Med-Fit had been leasing the old Nautilus plant in Independence since buying the exercise equipment company.

By Staff Reports

INDEPENDENCE — Med-Fit Systems Inc. has completed the purchase of Nautilus' commercial manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Independence, which includes a 262,000 square foot plant and a 56-acre campus.

"Now that we have complete ownership of the facility, we will be better able to utilize and expand the plant's manufacturing capabilities, said Dean Sbragia, CEO of Southern California-based Med-Fit.
“We have already initiated the move to bring our Asian-based cardiovascular equipment back to Independence, where we will have better quality control, while providing more jobs for Virginia."
The company has not announced how many new jobs could be created.
The Virginia operation was sold to Med-Fit Systems for $2.1 million in February.
Med-Fit's purchase included Nautilus' Nine Series cardio equipment — treadmills, ellipticals and bikes — and all the strength products, which include Nautilus One, Nitro, Nitro Plus, XPLoad Athletic and the free-weight line.
The sale did not include the Schwinn and Stairmaster brands, which were sold for $10.9 million to Fit Dragon International.
Med-Fit had an option to buy the Independence plant by Aug. 31. Had Med-Fit not bought the facility, the company's lease agreement with Nautilus would have required Med-Fit to pay rent of $40,000 a month through the end of the lease in December 2012.
In an April interview, Sbragia told industry publication ClubIndustry.com that Med-Fit planned to release four projects in 2010 and is working on new technology for weight resistance and an enhancement to the cardio line.
The introductions won't stop there, Sbragia also told ClubIndustry.com that Med-Fit has “very ambitious engineering plans” that involves new equipment from the former owners of Nautilus and new technology being put together by Med-Fit.
Nautilus will now manufacture and market retail and home products under the Nautilus name, while Med-Fit will manufacture and market commercial equipment under the Nautilus name, Sbragia said in the interview.
During the five-month negotiation process to buy the company, Nautilus had some attrition in its workforce, and the market “softened” a bit for the company's products, Sbragia said in the ClubIndustry.com interview, but he expects that softening to be temporary.
“The Nautilus name has enough cache and following that we'll fill the pipeline quickly,” Sbragia said.
Sbragia says the company will make customer service a top priority going forward.
Med-Fit will offer interactive Webinars with customers to find out their needs and get input on product development.
Sbragia told ClubIndustry.com that Med-Fit will honor the warranties of previously sold Nautilus commercial equipment. “We've agreed to service the equipment per written warranty. We will be providing the ongoing service for those parts and products.”
Med-Fit Systems Inc. is a 23-year-old physical therapy and senior care products provider based in Fallbrook, Cal.