Rogue’s Under-The-Radar Dominance
At a time when tech-enabled equipment and streaming fitness startups are raising multi-million- dollar funding rounds, one company has taken a decidedly different path to building a booming business.
The leading manufacturer of America-made strength and conditioning equipment, Rogue Fitness, has solidified itself as an Amazon-like marketplace for fitness gear and training accessories.
Back in 2006, when Air Force veteran Bill Henniger struggled to source equipment for his CrossFit-inspired garage gym, he used his own cash to launch Rogue — a direct-to-consumer solution for outfitting a CrossFit box, garage gym, or anything in between. Eleven years later, Rogue Fitness has grown from Henniger’s garage into a name brand recognized—and respected—the world over.
As the antithesis to a Silicon Valley startup or newfangled wellness brand, Rogue is refreshingly old school. Free from buzzwords and world-changing hyperbole, the company’s mission and reputation are rooted in values that are noticeably absent from the luxury-inspired, pseudo-scientific trends that dominate the conversation around the $4.2T wellness industry.
Although the private company doesn’t disclose its financials, indicators of Rogue’s success are plain to see, as evidenced by their inclusion on Inc’s list of 14 companies that dominated 2018.
A few of the highlights include Rogue’s new 600,000-square-foot headquarters in Columbus, Ohio and their workforce of 600 employees. They are the official equipment supplier of the CrossFit Games, USA Weightlifting, and the Arnold Strongman Classic. They’ve acquired several adjacent manufacturing businesses, including Nebula Fitness, Pendlay, and Reflex. And, most impressively, the company is largely responsible for breathing new life into the Milo-Grogan neighborhood in Downtown Columbus.
Notoriety aside, Rogue Fitness continues to fly under the radar — they represent a version of fitness, and success, for the rest of us. What does entrepreneurship or fitness look like for someone who’s not in New York City or San Francisco? It looks a lot like Rogue Fitness.