GNC launches incubation arm with ‘bold’ sports brand as first partner

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - metamorworks
©Getty Images - metamorworks

Related tags: Dietary supplement industry, Sports nutrition products, Sports nutrition, Sports Nutrition Summit USA

Fast growing sports nutrition brand Glaxon has teamed up with GNC in the reconstituted retailer’s first partnership under a new technology incubation initiative.

GNC Ventures is billed as the company’s ‘innovation and technology innovation arm affiliated with GNC.’  The initiative is apparently so new that no online presence has been assembled for it yet.

Yong Kai Wong, executive vice chairman for GNC, came onboard in the management suite of the venerable retailer after Chinese firm Harbin Pharmaceutical began investing in the company in 2018.  It bought the company outright​ as GNC entered bankruptcy protection in mid 2020.

  GNC had struggled with an overly large and increasingly antiquated and costly retail store footprint even before the global pandemic hit. In early 2020 many stores were forced to close temporarily and the crisis had severe repercussions in the supply chain. It was a storm the already weakened retailer could not weather on its own.

Time to set sail after surviving storm

But now newly capitalized and having shed many of its underperforming brick and mortar locations, GNC is ready for new initiatives like the incubation arm.

“With GNC's world class brand and its 86 years of science-backed resource and expertise in marketing, R&D, manufacturing, and store experience, as well as access to a vast distribution network of stores domestically and globally, GNC Ventures is a tremendous platform for discovering and supporting emerging and innovative brands and technologies within the GNC ecosystem such as Glaxon, to better service the health and wellness needs of millions of GNC consumers nationwide," ​Wong said.

Glaxon was viewed as  a good candidate for this initial partnership because of what GNC CEO Josh Burris said is a laudable speed to market and an already impressive range of innovative products in sports nutrition and other categories.

“With unique ingredients and bold marketing, Glaxon is shaking up the industry and their products are a great addition to our shelves. Consumers look to GNC to introduce them to the latest and greatest in nutrition solutions,”​ Burris said.

Creating multiple points of connection to consumers

Among Glaxon’s ‘bold marketing’ is this mission statement on its website:

“Is Glaxon a comic book superhero in the form of an overly zealous astronaut? Is Glaxon a multi-media publishing brand? Is it a line of sports-nutrition dietary supplements? The answer is simply, yes.”

The brand markets more than 30 sports nutrition, weight loss and ‘male performance’ supplements.  It also is fostering an online community it calls the Goonsquad.  Participation earns consumers access to “insider news, deep discounts and pre release products to review.”

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