Jonathan Lopez, the owner of CrossFit Little Rock, said quite a bit of apparel and accessories go into a single WOD. “We know that our members are going to buy them, so why not buy them from us?” Lopez said.
Your pro shop may be stocked with T-shirts sporting your Box’s name and a logo, socks covered with your branding, and hand grips for protection. What about the No. 1 item CrossFitters purchase: shoes, according to Lopez.
When he was the head Coach at Wellness Revolution CrossFit, Joey Lamb said the Box offered shoes in a variety of sizes for members to try on. This helped them get an idea of what they liked. Once the member found a pair he or she wanted to buy, Lamb said they could go online and purchase the pair of shoes.
“My goal as head Coach … is not necessarily to focus on the sales side of CrossFit, but focus on the relational side of CrossFit and the informational side of CrossFit. Not so much trying to make a dollar of every bit of product the CrossFitters need,” Lamb said.
Lamb said he saw two or three people convert to his former Box simply because his was the only gym in the area offering shoes, which made selling the product at his Box worth it.
The problem, both Lopez and Lamb agree, is that CrossFit shoes are not easily accessible. CrossFit shoes are not sold at any typical shoe stores, like Payless or Shoe Carnival, so CrossFitters cannot easily try them on before spending a hundred dollars on shoes.
When Lopez and his wife took over CrossFit Little Rock in 2012, they had discussed offering shoes in their pro shop. A local shoe store reached out to them for the partnership: The shoe store would provide the shoe, CrossFit Little Rock would sell the shoe, and each would get a cut of the profit. Ultimately, however, it never worked out.
“I looked into it from an Affiliate standpoint and talked to another CrossFit owner that I knew that was carrying shoes at the time, and he said not to do it. You carry too much in stock and you end up having too many shoes that you can’t sell of the wrong size. You end up just having to eat the money,” Lopez said.
The Affiliate Lopez talked to was Lamb.
“I just believe that expecting to grow your gym based on the stuff that you offer them is kind of getting away from the original grassroots movement that CrossFit was. It wasn’t about stuff. It was strictly about community and building relationships with people,” said Lamb.
Lopez explained that before offering anything in your pro shop you first have to look at your members. Whatever your members are asking for, provide. Otherwise, said Lopez, the overhead is not worth distributing products that won’t sell.