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History and FAQs of Icarian Gym Equipment
Briles and Johnson started the company with about $500 apiece, which they used to buy welding equipment to custom-build lifting
sets they sold for a few thousand dollars.
Icarian, a small but well-known company in a market dominated by Nautilus and Universal, sells equipment--which averages about
$900 a piece--to commercial gyms, schools and hotel fitness centers where it gets heavy use.
Some of the company's strongest loyalists are hard-core bodybuilders who are attracted to the 2-inch by 4-inch steel frame
construction of Icarian's weight machines. The big beams are a marketing gimmick that has succeeded, said Mark Nalley, president
of Flex Dynamics Gym Equipment in Anaheim, a competitor of Icarian's. "The belief that bigger is better seemed to work for them."
But about two years ago Icarian began to lose money despite increasing sales. Icarian's chief financial officer, Mark Bruno, said the
company's sales grew from under $1 million in 1986, when it operated with a very small profit, to just under $4 million in 1989, when
its losses ran into six figures.