Whether, gyms, personal trainers, businesses or even the fire department – anyone who needs fitness equipment will find it at Hold Strong.
The Hold Strong story starts with a simple pull-up bar. In 2015, Rafael Seweryn and Oliver Polenz decided to launch the Hold Strong brand. The two founders actually come from online marketing backgrounds and knew their way around the market at the time. So they came to the decision to try their luck in the sports industry.
They started selling pull-up bars out of their office in Schwelm. When Hold Strong was suddenly publicized via the fitness magazine Men’s Health, orders exploded. Polenz and Seweryn packed up to 50 pull-up bars a day in their office and took them to the post office by hand. A contact to Box-Owner Adam Biegon from CrossFit Wuppertal arose, which presented the two founders with a new challenge.
“Say, if you guys make such good pull-up bars, surely you can sell me a rig, right?” – “I’m sure we can, but tell me, what is a rig?”
So one thing led to another. In 2016, Hold Strong produced its first rig for CrossFit Wuppertal and subsequently included it in the product line. Word spread quickly, especially in Germany’s CrossFit boxes. Previously, these had often been equipped by Rogue because there had been no comparable equipment manufacturers on the market. Suddenly, however, there was also a German brand, Hold Strong, which also placed a lot of emphasis on high-quality equipment.
Move to Dortmund
The office in Schwelm quickly became too small and the orders could no longer be handled by two people. Polenz and Seweryn hired reinforcements for the warehouse and assembly. Three years after the founding of Hold Strong, in 2018, Ace Abanador joined the team, personally driving to clients. The team now consists of 15 employees, including an engineer who takes care of the technical drawings and product visualizations.
Then, about three years ago, Hold Strong further expanded its product line. Fall protection mats, floor protection mats and artificial turf were now also part of the product line. And the customer base grew as well. It was no longer just CrossFit boxes ordering their equipment from Hold Strong, but also small gyms as well as large chains. Hold Strong continued to grow slowly but steadily and over time added kettlebells as well as barbells to its line. In the meantime, the company also counts sports clubs, companies that offer sports for their employees, but also official organizations such as the fire department or the police among its customers.
High quality and individual
There is a reason why Hold Strong has established itself in the market as an equipment manufacturer. Ace Abanador, Head of Sales at Hold Strong, knows what the company emphasizes.
They now offer many products that customers can have their own design added to. “If the customer has a black and pink logo, we can also produce the rig in black and pink. We incorporate the logo into weightlifting platforms or add lettering or slogans to the products. This individuality is what sets us apart.”
And even though Hold Strong is now a very well-known company, it has nevertheless remained close to its customers. “It has to be a human fit, otherwise it usually doesn’t work out business-wise,” Abanador emphasizes. But Hold Strong is also popular with customers from abroad. Fast service times and a constant ability to deliver also bring customers from Italy, for example.
However, even at Hold Strong itself in the personal level is very important. Abanador describes it as a kind of family business, where employees have already become more than just colleagues. “We all love each other and the two bosses still lend a hand themselves. We have a very special working atmosphere.”One reason why Hold Strong currently employs “only” 15 people. “We act very carefully when recruiting. It simply has to be a good human fit.”
Everything takes time
The product line is now to grow successively and also in the weightlifting sector, where Hold Strong is not yet represented.
“We are very happy about the cooperation with the Weightlifting Shop. Hold Strong as one of the leading equipment manufacturers in Germany and the Weightlifting Shop as the leading German store in weightlifting will complement each other perfectly. Through this cooperation, we can offer athletes everything they need for their sport.” Managing Director Oliver Polenz is certain.
And even though Hold Strong is getting bigger and has big ambitions for the future, Abanador doesn’t want to ignore one thing. “We want to grow healthily and not lose the things that set us apart in the process. Business relationships also often lead to friendships. We’ve met a lot of cool people and we want to keep it that way. We want to continue to be the Hold Stronger.”