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Feb. 27, 2021

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Nautilus Shop opens in Vancouver

CEO calls big step ‘consumer lab’ for fitness equipment

By , Columbian Business Reporter
3 Photos
The Nautilus Shop, 17711 S.E. Sixth Ave., is across the street from the company's headquarters.
The Nautilus Shop, 17711 S.E. Sixth Ave., is across the street from the company's headquarters. (Nautilus) Photo Gallery

As seen on TV, as tested in Vancouver.

Nautilus Inc. is holding a grand opening Friday for its Nautilus Shop at the company’s headquarters.

The maker of Bowflex and other lines of in-home fitness machinery is hoping to make contact — literally — with customers in a new way.

“They might see our commercial or go on the Web, but they might still have that, ‘Eh, I want to get on it before I spend $2,000 to $3,000 on this piece of equipment,’ ” Nautilus CEO Bruce Cazenave said.

Entering the retail business is a big step for a company whose sales are two-thirds direct-to-consumer. But don’t expect Nautilus stores to pop up next to every Niketown.

“This is more to test concepts in a brick-and-mortar environment, and roll out whatever works — whatever our retail partners think works,” said Cazenave, who became CEO in 2011. “The premise behind it is we think there are a lot of things we can learn with direct interaction with the consumer in the direct shopping environment.”

Nautilus Shop grand opening

• What: Nautilus Shop grand opening events include a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m., product giveaways, functional fitness and personal training consultations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Trail Blazers mascot and BlazerDancers at 2 p.m. and book signing and talk with Dale Rule at 3 p.m.

• When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday

• Where: 17711 S.E. Sixth Ave., Vancouver

• Information:

The store is attached to the Nautilus Innovation Center, a 28,000-square-foot research and development space that opened in May across the street from the company’s main offices on Southeast 177th Avenue.

“We carved out 3,000 square feet to do this consumer lab, the Nautilus Shop,” Cazenave said. “(We can) get reactions and integrate that into product design and processes.”

Though the immediate area certainly isn’t a retail hub, having a sales laboratory next to the company’s actual product development laboratory made the location an easy choice.

Cazenave said the company wasn’t about to open in downtown Portland, either.

“This is our home, and the community’s been great for us, and very supportive,” he said.

Among the events set for Friday’s grand opening, Nautilus will be unveiling a few new products that will be up for sale later this month — a higher-end Max Trainer and new “smart” dumbbells from the SelectTech series.

Cazenave wouldn’t indulge the investment his company made in the store, but said: “We’re spending what a company would normally spend to open a store. It’s not over the top and not on the cheap either.”

The Nautilus Shop had a soft opening in December just ahead of Christmas.

Cazenave said it would have been great to open the doors earlier to capture more of the holiday shopping season, but that’s just not how things worked out.

“We won’t do things here unless we’re really ready,” he said. “(But) we’re really hitting smack in the middle of fitness season, which really starts the beginning of the new year.”

So the timing might be just right to capture those New Year’s resolvers with a little money and fat to burn.