Danny Sherbin, who owns Exercise Warehouse in Livonia, is crystal clear on what kind of customers he’s looking for in his new Exercise Warehouse on Jackson Road: rich ones. “The motivation was to go to an area that’s an affluent area,” says Sherbin, who’s been selling treadmills, exercise bikes, and ellipticals since 1996 and wanted to expand. His typical customer, he says, is thirty-five to fifty-five, a fitness enthusiast, and “can spend over a thousand dollars without having to call the bank. We’re looking for more of an upscale customer, because we’re selling specialty fitness equipment. It’s not $300 treadmills like you can get at Dunham’s or Sears. We offer service after the sale. My guys are very knowledgeable.”
He thought Ann Arbor was a logical place to fish for those affluent customers—not only enthusiasts, but also patients from places like U-M cardiac rehab or MedSport. Sherbin also does a lot of “light commercial business,” selling equipment designed for workout rooms in fire stations, police stations, community rooms, and apartment complexes. That explains the very high end of the product line—there’s a $4,000 treadmill that takes up more parking space than a small car, but no one’s going to try to sell it to you for your home.
Most of the heavy equipment at the stripped-down, minimalist store that opened October 1 in the stripped-down, minimalist Jackson Centre (home of Uptown Coney Island and U Pizza & Burgers) is the Life Fitness brand, unavailable locally since Fitness Experts closed a year ago (Marketplace Changes, October).
The reason Sherbin wanted to open a second store in the first place has to do with his manager Matt Miller (who was at a trade show the day we stopped in). “He wanted to grow within my company, but there’s only so much you can do in one location.” So Miller has essentially been given his own store. Says Sherbin: “He’s knowledgeable, really patient with people, sensitive to their needs, and that’s necessary because people have knee injuries, people have had heart attacks. We sell to people’s needs, rather than just sell to sell.”
Exercise Warehouse, 3933 Jackson Rd., 369–2044. Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–4 p.m. exercisewarehouse.net