FHI Inc., the Long Beach-based company behind the exercise retailer Busy Body Home Fitness, has pumped up its assets with the purchase of competitor L.A. Gym Equipment.


The acquisition will add 13 L.A. Gym Equipment locations in the region to Busy Body's 62 stores in six states, including 14 in Southern California. The purchase price was not disclosed.


"L.A. Gym has always been a very well run organization, which is why it was enticing to us as investors," Kenton Van Harten, president of FHI, said in a statement. "Our plan is to change very little because what they were doing is obviously working."


The L.A. Gym Equipment chain will retain its name. Launched in 1988 by Ran Radzewsky, Eli Ner-Goan and Ziv Barzily who met while backpacking South America, the Arleta-based privately held company generated $22 million in revenue in 2002.


Both L.A. Gym and Busy Body stores sell treadmills, elliptical machines, weights and other fitness equipment. Prices for the stores' treadmills can top $5,000.


FHI, which stands for Fitness Holdings International, was established in 2001 by Los Angeles private equity investment firm Hancock Park Associates. The firm also owns 45 Omni Fitness Equipment stores on the East Coast.


Style Spotlight
Jaye Hersh, whose retail Web site Shopintuition.com has become a popular stop for Hollywood fashions, is stepping into the spotlight herself on the shopping network QVC.


Along with a yet-to-be-determined QVC personality, Hersh will host an hour show in October. Future appearances for the Internet clothier and owner of the Los Angeles boutique Intuition are still being worked out.


The October show will feature 10 items that have been selling well on the Shopintuition.com Web site. They include necklaces, handbags and sweater wraps.


"We picked out some great items to be able to bring trends, what Hollywood is wearing, to QVC," said Hersh. The items will be sold under her label, Shopintuition by Jaye Hersh.


Hersh wouldn't disclose the financial arrangement with QVC, but noted that the shopping channel wants to capitalize on Hollywood's fashion scene. Hersh said QVC shoppers are hungry for the latest looks, and they cross all age demographics.


She should know, having watched QVC for years after discovering that her favorite perfume, Tova, was exclusively sold on the network. "Seriously, I am a QVC shopper. I am addicted," said Hersh.


Carpet Gabber
Rug manufacturer Jaunty Co. Inc. is getting an unexpected boost from Univision talk show host Cristina Saralegui.


The Los Angeles-based company makes rugs that are a part of Saralegui's Casa Cristina collection of home goods. Jaunty recently added six more Casa Cristina rugs, which will ship in October and bring the number of her branded rugs to over 20. The Cuban native hosts "The Cristina Show," a mainstay on the Spanish language network since 1989.


Mac McCormick, a senior vice president at Jaunty, said the Casa Cristina rugs are outselling traditional Persian and contemporary rugs designed by the company. Due to strong sales of the Cristina rugs, the company plans to add new styles twice annually, in April and October. "It is doing so well we wouldn't even hesitate," McCormick said.


Saralegui, who is based in Miami, approves all rug designs in her collection. They come in a variety of sizes and are sold for $449 to $799 at 160 stores nationwide.


Sales of Cristina rugs are concentrated in states with large Hispanic populations, such as California and Florida. But McCormick noted that he's seen sales in unexpected areas such as Michigan.


Sports Strain
After reporting delays prompted the American Stock Exchange to initiate delisting of Sports Club Company Inc., the high-end gym operator has again pushed back reporting its financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Los Angeles-based Sports Club said it was unable to file for the second quarter and the six months ended June 30 by the extended due date of Aug. 22. The company didn't specify when its financial statements would be completed.


Sports Club blamed the delay on complexities associated with accounting for leases, asset sales and initiation fee revenues. Scores of retailers and restaurants have had trouble reporting their financial results on a timely basis after an SEC clarification concerning the recording of landlord incentives such as free or reduced rents and the amortization of leases over realistic rental periods.


In June, Sports Club requested a hearing before a committee of the American Stock Exchange to support its continued listing on the exchange. The request automatically stayed the delisting, pending the committee's final determination.


Sports Club officials did not return calls.


*Staff reporter Rachel Brown can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 224, or by e-mail at rbrown@labusinessjournal.com .

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