WHO WE ARE
THE SHORT VERSION
Valor Fitness is committed to the Home Fitness/Cross Training enthusiast; Valor’s 400+ product line offers items for fitness professionals, studios, and gyms while never forgetting the home user. With the increased popularity of Cross Training Gyms along with Fitness Competitions, Valor Fitness has also incorporated into the product line equipment targeted toward Box Gyms and Cross Training Franchises.
From 2016 through 2018 Valor Fitness supplied equipment for over 50 Cross Training Events throughout the State of Florida ranging from 1 Day events supporting 75 Athletes to 3 day events supporting 750 athletes. To say our equipment is “battle field tested” is an understatement. The amount of energy being applied by the Cross Training Culture only adds to the design quality during manufacturing. Be it Jump Ropes to Kettle Bells to a 14 Lane 15’ tall Rig and everything in between, Valor Fitness has what you need. As the Valor Fitness product line continues to expand, Valor has solutions for fitness enthusiasts, both novice and professionals alike.
With Valor’s distribution center located in Seminole, FL, we are able to serve our clients throughout the country. Our team is excited to provide you with an impeccable online shopping experience and remains available to personally assist between the hours of 8:00 – 4:00pm EST M-F. If you have questions about your order or product please feel free to contact us via telephone or email and one of our experienced team members will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you are in the area and would like to stop by and visit us in person, let this be an open invitation.
THE LONG VERSION
So, who is this “Valor Fitness” anyway? Valor Athletics Inc. (the official name) was founded by Jim & Julie Vanderbleek in 2006. After spending 25 years in the Sporting Goods Industry with Champs Sports and Sports Authority, Jim made a life changing career move by putting family first. In 2006, Jim resigned his SVP position at Sports Authority in Denver, CO. out of a desire to have his 3 children spend as much time as they could with Jim’s aging parents located back in St. Petersburg, Florida where all three children were born. So with no promise of a job or financial security, Jim resigned from his position at Sports Authority, packed up his family, and took a step of faith to come back to Florida.
The Personal Bravery it took for Jim and Julie to make a life decision in the face of uncertainty is what came to mind. This is also what came to mind when looking for a company name to start a new career. Julie came up with the word “Valor” (personal bravery) which seemed appropriate based on the circumstances. Valor, meaning to have boldness or determination, or showing heroic courage in the face of adversity, is synonymous to those that have either had to overcome great obstacles, served our country bravely, or even athletes pushing themselves past their limits to be the best they can be.
The word Athletics was the second word of the newly formed company. Athletics is a passion of Jim’s and a way of life that many strive for. So, it was out of this ideology that Valor Athletics, later to become Valor Fitness, was born from the home office in 2006.
The years from 2006 to 2011 had its growing pains as well as personal hurdles. The original business plan was to be a wholesaler to the traditional retail locations throughout the USA. In 2007, the first product line consisted of 7 SKUs, the economy was not well, traditional retailers were closing their doors to new vendors. Sales were non-existent, debt was accumulating, banks were closing Valor’s bank accounts and lowering credit lines.
In 2008 the decision was made to abandon the traditional wholesaler/retailer relationship and focus on Web Sales allowing Valor to have direct access to the end user and not having to rely on traditional retailers for sales.
During this transition, both of Jim's parents passed away within a 3 month span, the few employees that were hired were all terminated, the Corp office was moved back to the house and sales were struggling and to add insult to injury, Jim was involved in a serious wave runner accident that left him in the hospital for a week then rehab over the next 6 months. Valor found itself in a deep hole only to later find out the hole would get much deeper. The word bankruptcy was being discussed but quitting was not an option. Jim and Julie had to lean on the definition of Valor, they had to find their personal bravery to continue.
To keep the business afloat, not only did Julie work three jobs, she convinced Jim to cash in the families 401K retirement plan. A lifetime of savings meant for relaxation and retirement now became a lifeline of survival. A lifetime of savings being cashed out with no guarantee things would be better. A lifetime of savings no longer being saved for their 3 children’s education. Julie had faith in Jim, faith in Valor and more importantly faith in God. Faith that God would provide knowing they lived by the golden rule of Honor your Father and Mother. In essence, Jim and Julie went ALL IN!
By January 2012 everything turned around and Valor moved the Corp Office out of the house and into a 2,700sqft office/warehouse. The banks saw the personal financial commitment from the owners of Valor and raised the credit line. In 2014, sales continued to increase, so another move was in store as well as the banks raising the lines of credit. Valor moved to a 15,000 sqft complex as well as securing 3rd party warehouse locations in Houston, TX and Stockton, CA for additional storage space and sales distribution.
In 2015, the hole got deeper, Valor’s Family had to rely on their faith and find their personal bravery during the sudden and tragic death of Julie, one of the founding owners of Valor Fitness. Easily a recipe for quitting, Jim recalls telling himself “I did not come this far just to come this far, finish the race that was started in 2006”. In 2017 God provided Valor the means to purchase a 40,000 sqft office facility and now employs 21 people. As rich as this sounds, Valor Management clearly understands this could all end tomorrow.
Valor Management has learned to lean on its own name for guidance as well as never forgetting The Company is just a vehicle allowing each employees vocation to be a means to support their avocation.
Sales at Valor Fitness provides the financial means for greater avenues in life.
Valor has found ways to enjoy its avocation by giving back to the community. Local Sheriff K-9 Units train their dogs in the facility. Holding Toys for Tots Campaigns during the Christmas Season, Collecting Can Foods for the Local Food Clinic during Thanksgiving season. Donating complete RIGS and Equipment to the Tampa SWAT Team for training. Funding New Equipment for a Girls Softball Team in Louisiana after a catastrophic flood wiped out every piece of fitness equipment. Giving back to the College Fraternity Jim was a member of with new equipment every 4 years. Supporting an X-Marine and his wife with New Equipment to start his boot camp business (he now has 2 locations), establishing a 10 year Memorial College fund on behalf of Julie Vanderbleek at a local Christian High School and best of all making 400 Crosses for the Fallen Floridian Soldiers KIA from 2001 to Present Day in his garage to show his love and respect for the Military.
So, what’s in a name? For the owner of Valor Fitness, it’s rather personal, his life is in the name as well his DNA in the company. Why the in-depth "about us" story? To show our customers that behind what could be viewed as a façade of Web Photos, Pretty Models and accompanied with paragraphs of rich web content are people just like you working hard every day to be the best they can be at their vocation while supporting families at home with their avocation.
Valor’s short lived history is no different than your own life story. We all have hurdles to overcome and valleys to climb from.
Finding one’s Personal Bravery happens every day!
Share Your Personal Bravery
Would you like to share your own form of Personal Bravery story with Jim? Feel free to call or e-mail him, he would love to hear from you,
Jim Vanderbleek | 727-895-9525 | Jim@valorfitness.com
Thank you for your time and no matter where you shop for your fitness needs, you are always welcome at Valor Fitness.