Sometimes, your decisions can surprise even yourself.
Grady Sheffield, the director of campus recreation at Towson University, said this recently happened with Matrix Fitness. With their new rec center expansion opening in January 2018, he said extensive research and evaluations were done on different equipment vendors to utilize in the space.
However, Sheffield said none of his team expected to pick Matrix. They all had their own brand loyalties and preferences, and Matrix wasn’t one of them.
“When we started the process of designing our fitness equipment layouts and evaluating what pieces we wanted to outfit 22,000 square feet of fitness floor space expansion, admittedly, Matrix was not at the top of our list of vendors,” said Sheffield. ” If fact, if anyone would have told me that we would almost exclusively have Matrix Fitness equipment in our facility, I would have told them they were crazy.”
But, during the research stage, three attributes – quality, service and relationship – about Matrix were revealed, and Towson University hasn’t looked back since:
CR: How did you discover Matrix?
GS: We have known of or about Matrix since they first entered into the cardio market in 2001 and have seen the company grow to become one of the industry’s most recognizable fitness brands. We “discovered” Matrix when we began researching and evaluating different vendors to meet our strength, functional and cardio equipment needs in our 94,000-square-foot recreation facility expansion, which opened in January 2018.
CR: Why did you partner with Matrix?
GS: While our assistant director of fitness, Eric Barron, our associate director of programs and assessment, Katie White, and I were aware of Matrix Fitness, none of us were completely sold on them as a company or their products. In fact, each of us had individual brand loyalty preference based on our past experiences and fitness knowledge with each of us having a background in fitness programming and management. After extensive research, evaluation, testing and demos, the decision to utilize the Matrix brand was quite obvious for our team.
We chose Matrix because of three reasons: quality, service and relationship. The Matrix Fitness product lines impressed us with the quality of biomechanics, functionality, materials, craftmanship, technology and design. We were influenced with the attention to detail behind their commitment to service/repair, the asset management system, and education related to maintenance and training of student staff on utilization of the equipment. Above all else, we were overwhelmed with the relationships that were fostered from the very start of the process with the entire national and regional sales team, including local area representatives. Matrix Fitness sold the value of their product accordingly, but more importantly, they showed us they wanted to invest in our department by helping us to enhance the fitness and wellbeing of the Towson University community. In the end, these three factors helped Matrix Fitness set a high bar for others to beat and made what we thought was going to be a difficult decision very simple.
CR: What do you like about partnering with Matrix? What pieces of equipment do you use and why?
GS: Aside from what the relationship with everyone involved at Matrix, we are really pleased with how receptive Matrix has been regarding our feedback on the functionality of equipment or any issues/concerns we have no matter how minor the detail.
We are very pleased with all of the equipment, especially the S-Drive performance trainer and the integrated technology of the 7xi consoles on all of our cardio pieces.
The response to our new expansion and the Matrix Fitness equipment has been phenomenal. The black matte finishes on the strength and cardio are a perfect match to our interior design. The strength, cardio and functional pieces have “wowed” our participants and we could not be more pleased with the impact the equipment is having on their fitness goals and needs. In fact, we were recently told by a faculty member that a student had reported they “used to workout at Burdick; now I REALLY workout.”
CR: How does this partnership benefit your rec center?
GS: The partnership with Matrix benefits our facility and department beyond just the supplying a product and servicing our needs. Our partnership is reciprocal in that we can give direct feedback on the functionality, quality and performance of the equipment while getting direct, personal, timely and dedicated attention from anyone at any time.
CR: Was there anything that pleasantly surprised you about working with Matrix?
GS: We did our research and tested products accordingly before making a decision on what equipment we wanted to purchase and from what vendor. In the end, Matrix beat out the competition overall because of quality, service and relationship. We were surprised, in the end, that based on those three things Matrix Fitness was able to set themselves apart from the competition. Matrix has delivered an outstanding product and provided exceptional service that has surpassed all expectations. We are both pleased and proud to have established a great partnership Matrix Fitness that will last for many years.
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