Home Gym Systems gets new owners


A group of investors has bought a controlling interest in Home Gym Systems Inc., which owns a chain of seven stores selling home fitness equipment.

The new owners hope to take the company public within a few years.

Towson attorney Michael C. Hodes, insurance agency owner Carl J. Meil and Douglas A. Strouse, a partner in a Baltimore court reporting firm, bought a 60 percent interest in the company on Wednesday, Mr. Hodes said.

They paid $400,000 to Tony Trantas and Rick Levin, who own the Downtown Locker Room shoe and apparel chain and the Athletic Warehouse in Towson, as well as an Athletic Attic store in Towson Town Center.

Mr. Trantas and Mr. Levin, who bought the first Home Gym Systems store in Timonium in 1992 and have since opened six more, will remain active in the business.

Mr. Hodes said the group hopes to expand the chain to 20 stores, and its annual sales to about $15 million from between $5 million and $6 million currently.

"Near term, Howard County and Tysons [Corner, Va.] are our immediate targets" for expansion, Mr. Hodes said.

Mr. Levin said the stores sell a range of equipment, from $199 treadmills to full home gyms costing $2,500 or more.

"We see a golden opportunity for fitness in the home because of the privacy and convenience of it," Mr. Levin said.

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