This is the 41st Buyers Guide published by Athletic Business — the first having launched the Athletic Purchasing & Facilities brand back in 1977. As the story goes, founder Fenton Kelsey Jr. was working to construct an indoor ice arena in Madison, Wis., but couldn't find any references to guide him through the construction process or future management. So he decided to create one.
That first Buyers Guide weighed in at just 48 pages — a testament to an industry still in its infancy. Over time, the industry has evolved, and so has our Buyers Guide, driven, of course, by the professionals we serve.
The page count of the Buyers Guide has grown and shrunk in response to the same economic factors that affect our readers' businesses. New products and services have been created in response to the needs and visions of athletic, fitness and recreation professionals. Categories have been added and removed to reflect changing trends and technological advancements. The success of companies in meeting these challenges has led to the expansion of programs — both in scope and number — and new companies have come forth to meet the increased demand.
Through our eight additional issues of Athletic Business magazine published each year (as well as our digital offerings), we focus on the developments affecting our industries and the innovations that they inspire. Here you will find an index of the companies that can help you achieve your goals. Consider the Buyers Guide a companion to the editorial articles you read throughout the year. Keep it close at hand, and when you find inspiration in an article, turn to these pages for the physical assets and philosophical expertise to help get you started.
The Buyers Guide was our first issue for a reason. The companies listed herein have been and will continue to be an integral part of the growth and success of the athletic, fitness and recreation industries.
Here's to their continued success, and yours.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Supply and demand" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.