Monday, November 29, 2010

Up Close: Wisthoff Fitness Closing Storefront, Remaining Online

If you own a treadmill, stationary bike, or home gym, and purchased it from a neighborhood storefront within the past four or five years, it was likely from the Bucktown/Wicker Park outpost of Wisthoff Fitness, 2240 W. North Ave, and you probably bought it from Joe.

Tomorrow the store will close for business, and the neighborhood will lose one of the friendliest guys around. I've been popping in on Joe and Wisthoff long before there was a pipeline, and previously sold his shop a few newspaper ads which unfortunately did not bring in any business. The good news is that any of the estimated 500-plus local residents with a treadmill can still call Joe if you need it serviced, and he'd of course be able to sell you any new exercise equipment too.

About 80% of Joe's business is online, thus it did not make sense for the company to maintain the costs associated with a physical storefront.

In this video clip, Joe discusses Zsofia Otvos's paintings, which will likely soon hang in a cultural center at 1000 N. Milw. Zsofia had been using the space as an offsite gallery, with Joe managing it. I'll miss the paintings too, as will many other locals. As for the Mr. Potato Head in the window, Joe says it's earmarked for the lucky little boy of a neighboring shop.

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