April 10, 2020

We’re running out of home gym equipment

April 10, 2020
The Hustle
TOGETHER WITH
FOCL

For sale: one kettlebell, gently used. Sure, it’s been sitting untouched in our office for 9 months now, and “technically” we’ve only been working remote for 4 weeks, but that’s none of your business. Every time we go to lift it, we get distracted by the bowl of Dove chocolate that sits directly between our desks. Did we put it there on purpose? Again — our business, not yours. 

For the small-business owners out there: We spoke to the CEO of Lendio about challenges you’re facing with the coronavirus relief program. Here are 5 takeaways.

Not Jacked

Lifting less in quarantine? Blame the supply chain

If you’ve been struggling to peel yourself off the couch and clock in some at-home exercise, here’s another excuse for you: You probably can’t buy the right equipment anyway.

When gyms across the country began to shutter in mid-March, retailers reported spikes — sometimes as much as 625% — in at-home equipment sales. On March 13, Colorado-based Rep Fitness sold more equipment in 24 hours than it usually does in a month. 

Now stores everywhere are running low on free weights. Some in particular — like kettlebells — have altogether vanished from shelves. 

Welcome to the kettlebell shortage

Kettlebells are so good for quarantine workouts because they can target all parts of your body — they’re essential, for instance, in CrossFit. 

But when it comes down to it, kettlebells are basically just big masses of iron — and these days, the US isn’t doing a whole lot of cast iron manufacturing. 

Sixty-five percent of our exercise equipment comes from foundries in China, which in January halted production because of COVID-19.

Only Rhode Island can lift us out of this

With the US manufacturing sector patently not swole, we don’t have other options. The number of American foundries able to build kettlebells is vanishingly small. In fact, one company is trying to pump way more iron than it can handle.

Exercise aficionados across the country are pinning their hopes on the Cumberland Foundry, a small Rhode Island company that is the only major supplier of kettlebells at this moment. The problem: It can only churn out about 40 to 50 kettlebells a day

Endorphins, we hardly knew ye

Free weights may have been the first to go, but now fitness companies are reporting shrinking supplies of even the most unwieldy home gym equipment: treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. 

There are plenty of alternatives that take advantage of tech-friendly hardware. Digital fitness apps like HomeCourt are seeing jumps in popularity, and social-distancing measures may reshape what a traditional workout looks like.

Prefer to keep it old school? Maybe you can just fashion some dumbbells out of wood.

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After 657 days slinging flavored-water at Hint…

Nik Sharma left and moved to NYC to work with entrepreneurial-guru Gary Vee as the Director of DTC. His work had impressed Mr.Vee.

At Hint, he helped grow their direct-to-consumer business to account for 40% of their $100m in revenue for 2018. Today, he works for himself advising, investing, and launching DTC-brands like: JUDY, Haus, Dreampop, and Twice. 

The results don’t lie: Nik knows what it takes to turn a simple product into a lifestyle, and it all starts with a great launch.

Our next Trends Lecture: Product Launch 101, Nik will share his Midas touch for DTC-gold. Join Nik live as he walks you through his framework for a modern-day brand launch. 

You’ll learn: 

  • His day-of checklist for a successful launch. 
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Spooky

The strange case of a disappearing ‘internet food court’

The ghost kitchen vanished almost as fast as it had appeared.

But the Financial Times spotted traces of the fledgling service before it ghosted us. And the FT unraveled a strange internet caper in the process.

Here’s how it all started

This week, a press release announced the arrival of the “Internet Food Court,” a venture from CloudKitchens, the culinary company started by the former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

The point of the IFC, according to the FT: To prepare food from 30 restaurant brands, and then deliver them on popular services like Grubhub and DoorDash. Sorta “like a mall food court, except less mall and more internet.” 

Its now-deleted Instagram profile boasted of “Thai. Indian. Chinese. Russian. Errrrthang” — cuisine for everyone, “except Karen.”

Care to comment, Mr. Kalanick?

After the FT reached out to CloudKitchens for more info, the IFC’s internet footprint disappeared. 

A rep for the holding company of CloudKitchens said the PR blitz “included numerous errors and misrepresentations,” and was “created and disseminated without the company’s knowledge.”

The strangest thing about this odd affair: An IFC-branded building does exist IRL. Its name is splashed on the windows of a building in LA’s Koreatown (the walk-up window is closed due to the coronavirus). 

The Medium publication HNGRY confirmed that the Los Angeles city government approved CloudKitchens’ application for a liquor license there in February.

Kalanick is disavowing the whole fiasco, but skeptics say he’s just passing the blame.

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The Hustle Says

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Mild or hot?

Joey Chestnut’s dream come true: We’re chock full of cheap chicken wings

March was supposed to be a big month at B-Dubs.

Demand for chicken wings flaps and falls with the rhythms of the sports world. When Super Bowl Sunday and March Madness roll around, fans beat the drum(ette) for more blazin’ buffalo. (Mr. Chestnut, for those who know him for hot dogs, is also a wing-eating champ.)

The wing slingers at Buffalo Wild Wings were getting spicy for this year’s NCAA tournament: The company ran a promotion for people to sleep inside a B-Dubs outpost and binge on basketball and bleu cheese. 

They dubbed it BnB-Dubs (eat your boneless heart out, Airbnb). Then, right as the contest ended, March Madness got canceled.

Dry those hot-sauce stained tears…

…for you may never see a cheaper wing. Or more of them on the shelves.

  • Chick-onomic data show that wings haven’t been this cheap since September of 2011. 
  • They’re now selling for about half of what they were at Super Bowl time (almost $2 per pound back in early February).
  • Last week, poultry producers sold ~800k fewer pounds of wings (433k) than they did the week that March Madness was scheduled to tip off (1.24m).

There’s an explanation for this precipitous poultry plunge: Wings aren’t the prime cut for most home cooks — they usually reach for breasts, thighs, and legs first. 

Sending wings packed for food service to the supermarket isn’t easy — restaurants buy them in bulk containers, which are harder for us to store and handle. 

That’s how our national wing surplus was hatched.

Meanwhile, back at B-Dubs…

…people are coping with the lack of basketball as best they can. In-home dunk contest, anyone?

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Unless your head has been stuck in the sand for the past year (which, at this point, we wouldn’t blame you), you’re probably aware that CBD has been found to have more benefits than a senior Google employee:

  • Calm a stressed-out mind
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WEEKEND ‘WASTERS

Check out these bits ‘n bobs to help get you through another weekend stuck inside. Today’s theme? Board games.

FOR KILLING TIME ALONE: Catan Online

Who needs friends when you’ve got robots named Thorolf, Fleur, and Hildegard? Hildegard!!! This free downloadable version of Settlers of Catan lets you play against friends online or (if you don’t have any) the aforementioned robots. 

FOR KILLING TIME WITH A ROOMMATE: Twilight Struggle

Hot take: The greatest two-person board game is Twilight Struggle. Take sides as either the US or USSR in a fast-moving, low-complexity game that has won countless awards in the past 2 decades. Intriguing. 

FOR QUARANTINING FAMILIES: Telestrations

Take the traditional game of telephone, mix in some bad drawing, and what do you get? One very addicting — and even more humbling — game for you and the kids. 

FOR YOU AND YOUR PARTNER: Authenticity

One teeny-tiny quarantine perk: unlimited time to get to know your partner better. Authenticity will do the hard work for you with questions that will help you learn more about each other than you could ever expect. 

AND ONE WE WISH EXISTED: Cones of Dunshire

8-12 players. Two wizards. A maverick. The Arbiter. Are the cones a metaphor? Yes and no. 

Sunday Sneak Peek

If you’ve been enjoying our coronavirus coverage, keep an eye out for this week’s Sunday story. It’s a banger.

And it was inspired by you. A few days ago, we asked readers to tell us stories of companies that survived the Great Recession a decade ago.

The coronavirus pandemic is a different (and more immediate) kind of crisis. It upended the economy — and our lives — in a few weeks.

But among the 200+ responses, we heard some common parallels with the economic upheaval of the late 2000s. Some businesses went crazy cutting costs. Others stomped on the gas pedal.

Check out the latest episode of “Behind the Hustle” for a full preview. The story hits inboxes on Sunday morning.

Shower Thoughts

Should we replace Shower Thoughts with Bath Beliefs? Email us if yes. Send us an edible arrangement if no. 

1. Dogs hear us talk all day, but if they bark for more than a minute we tell them to stop.

2. You’ve probably never seen your grandparents jump.

3. When we empty our lint traps, we’re just slowly throwing our clothes in the garbage.

4. The day cheese becomes an acceptable gift is the day you officially become an adult.

5. If Waldo changed his shirt, literally no one could find him

Via Reddit

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