Fargo exercise equipment company flourishes amid pandemic gym shutdowns
When the coronavirus forced local gyms and fitness centers to close here and everywhere, a lot of people turned to home workouts. That sparked a run on equipment that has a Fargo company smiling, with clients from across the country buying their product.
FARGO — Inside the PRx Performance warehouse, an army of employees are busy shipping steel — the kind that builds muscle.
Fargo-based PRx is quickly developing a reputation across America for its wall-mounted, space-saving weight racks.
"It folds up out of the way when not in use," said PRx Vice President Rachel Rice, "and you can still get your car in the garage when you need to."
When COVID-19 hit and gyms nationwide shutdown, "it was bananas," said PRx warehouse worker Ben Gurney. "We tried to adjust right away, but most of us weren't sure it would continue the way it did."
When the pandemic began to take hold in the United States, PRx was getting so many orders that it had to limit the hours during the day when orders could be placed. Even then, orders more than exceeded expectations.
"We had the website open 30 seconds before we met our daily sales quota," Rice said.
The orders piled up. On a normal day before the coronavirus hit, they were shipping 20 orders. Now, they do hundreds a day. With that change, the workforce has also increased.
"Pre-COVID, we were about 20 people; now we are 65-70 employees and we are still hiring," Rice said.
PRx made its debut on Shark Tank 4 years ago. After that, the company slowly gained steam, but with COVID-19, everything took off.
Ground will be broken soon on a new headquarters near 19th Avenue North in Fargo, and workers recently got a $5 bump in hourly pay because of the increased workload.
"Because of the holiday season approaching, we are expecting a flood of orders," Rice said. "So, Nov. 1, we are adding another $5 an hour.
PRx tells customers to expect a 5 week wait for orders, and the company is considering adding a night shift to help meet demand.