After working to refine Studio FitOne, Rick Suarez is ready to franchise.

JACKSON TWP.  After five years refining Studio FitOne, Richard Suarez is ready to franchise the operation nationally.

He's joining what has been dubbed the urban fitness revolution, which features boutique exercise clubs branded with catchy names.

"I feel we're better," Suarez of his Studio FitOne concept. "The next trend in fitness has been created in Canton, Ohio."

At the core of the business is the Ball Bike X3, an exercise machine designed by Aaron Huber and Suarez. It looks like a stationary bicycle, but the seat is replaced by a large exercise ball. The machine also has exercise bands that can be pulled while riding.

Suarez said Huber developed the ideas behind the Ball Bike X3. They worked together and found a company in Taiwan to build the machine. Suarez said using the machine allows for a cardio workout with the bicycle, core workout with the exercise ball, and a strength workout pulling the bands.

The machine is used in a 45-minute, low impact exercise program that works for all ages, Suarez said. A personalized trainer leads the workout and participants can go at their own pace, he said. Because it's low impact, the program reduces the chances for an injury. Suarez calls it great fitness without the pain.

Lack of time, injury and discomfort, boredom, slow results and lack of support are cited by Suarez as the five barriers that keep people from exercising. The Studio FitOne program eliminates those barriers, he said.

Suarez has been involved with fitness and training since 1970 when he started Consumer Direct. During the 1980s, he pioneered the sale of exercise equipment on television with a company called Fitness Quest. Time Warner bought out Fitness Quest in 1994.

Suarez said he was working in ministry, with Huber as an assistant, when Huber came up with the Ball Bike X3 concept. Suarez started using the machine when he opened Studio FitOne in 2013 in Washington Square in North Canton. He moved to 4418 Belden Village St. NW in 2016.

The center occupies about 3,400 square feet, with an exercise room, lounge area and a smoothie bar. A traditional gym loaded with equipment would require about 35,000 square feet, Suarez said. He believes the small size makes Studio FitOne attractive to customers, as well as to potential franchise owners.

Suarez said he is looking for someone to partner with his wife, LuAnn, to operate the Belden Village location. That will allow him to focus on finding partners with the capital to launch the franchise business. "I genuinely feel we have the model right now."

Trio promoted as Solmet grows

Steady growth has spurred promotions at Solmet Technologies, a local maker of commercial open-die steel forgings.

The moves have been made to align the company for continued expansion, according to a statement announcing the changes.

Company founder Joe Halter has taken on the senior position of chairman, while is son, Matt Halter, takes over day-to-day business operations in the role of president.

Kyle Sheposh, who served as controller, now is chief financial officer. He will make strategic decisions to ensure Solmet has a solid financial position as it moves toward future growth.

Solmet started more than 30 years ago as a metallurgical testing and open-die forging operation. It has grown in recent years to serve new markets, adding several services that include large part machining and sample preparation.

The transition welcomes a new era in the family business and represents the current strength of the oil and gas industry, according to the company's statement. The company serves a variety of industries that include oil and gas, transportation, fluid power and metals fields.

TimkenSteel board expands to 11

Directors at TimkenSteel appointed Marvin Riley, chief operating officer of EnPro Industries, as a new independent director.

The addition gives TimkenSteel's board 11 members.

Riley worked 20 years with General Motors before joining EnPro in 2007. He served in several positions including president of the Fairbanks Morse division, vice president of manufacturing and head of global operations for the GGB Bearing Technology division. He was named chief operating officer in July 2017.

Tim Timken, chairman, chief executive officer and president of TimkenSteel, said Riley has been "a leader in the automotive, energy and industrial industries and brings to the board valuable manufacturing and supply-chain insights." Riley's experience complements TimkenSteel's business and adds further depth and breadth to the company's board, Timken said in the announcement.

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @epritchardREP