| Article Summary:
Through no fault of our own my wife, who goes by the BodySpace name of judimax, and I (BodySpace name Captain Ahab) were not able to attend the Bodybuilding.com Boise Fit Expo in Boise, Idaho in early April, even though we had planned to be there, but as Murphy's Law states, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Enough said.
So while we both lamented our misfortune and continued working out we still felt like we had been denied a little bit of a holiday so we decided mid week that we were going to go to Boise anyway, only this time instead of attending the Boise Fit Expo we were going to see if we could visit Bodybuilding.com itself.
I am not sure if you are aware but the biggest and best bodybuilding and fitness website in the entire world is located in a small town called Meridian, right next to Boise, Idaho and aside from my wife and I wanting to visit the Mecca of bodybuilding which is Gold's Gym in Venice California, we wanted to be able to visit the home of the website that has played a huge part in our body transformation and fitness life which was only about an 11 hour drive south from our front door.
Not even knowing if we could even get inside the front door I decided to get in touch with the person I order my supplements from. I decided to contact my customer service representative for Bodybuilding.com who goes by the name of "Active Alicia" and see if there was anything that could be done to assist us in our endeavor.
I believe that because of all the remarkable things that she made happen for us her name should now be officially changed to "Amazing Alicia." She said that if we were indeed driving down she would make sure that we not only would be able to get inside but she would set up a tour of the facilities for us.
She even had a suggestion as to a good hotel to stay in seeing as we had never been to Idaho before and told us that the hotel was almost across the street from the Bodybyuilding.com offices.
Driving Down To Idaho
Friday night we went to bed having made reservations and looked forward to leaving bright and early the next morning. We had set the coffee pot to start brewing about 10 minutes before the alarm went off so we woke Saturday morning April 19th to the smell of fresh coffee and something that was very unusual for that time of year in our area, close to a foot of snow on the ground with more falling all the time.
That was definitely an eye opener and although there is a popular misconception that Canada is covered in snow and we all live in igloos believe me when I say that this was an unusual occurrence.
Neither of us was going to be deterred and for once my being a professional procrastinator paid off seeing as I had not yet gotten around to removing the winter tires from the car.
This would turn out to bode well. Apparently the snowfall wasn't just unusual in our area but almost all of Washington State. Northern Idaho also received a good blast of the white stuff. Undaunted and undeterred we set out and finally left the snow about 2 hours from Boise.
We arrived in Meridian where Bodybuilding.com has its corporate office, found and checked in to our hotel, which was a great place and called Amazing "Active Alicia." She had actually given me her personal cell phone number so that when we arrived I could call and let her know that we had arrived.
I was amazed at the friendliness and helpfulness of Alicia, but I was soon to find out that everyone who works at Bodybuilding.com seems to have that particular trait and that is something that Bodybuilding.com looks for when bringing someone on board their team rather than just the accomplishments on their resumes.
Placing the call to her brought us the information. She had arranged for us to meet Tommy Zarate the Director of Customer Support, Tommy's pretty lady Natalie and Alicia for dinner that evening. The food was good and the conversation better and we all had a fun time.
Even though my natural curiosity caused me to ask what I am sure both Tommy and Alicia thought was an endless array of questions - about the company - they never hesitated in answering or in being open and honest in their responses.
The Corporate Office
The next morning judimax pulls open the curtains in our room to a bright sun-shiny day and while looking out the very first thing she says is, "There is the Bodybuilding.com head office." There it was right across the parking lot, talk about close.
Once ready we made our way over we took each other's picture standing by the front door; you may laugh but this was really a big deal for us.
As we walk inside the smiling face of the receptionist greets us and Active Alicia is already waiting to take us on our tour before we could even say hello. Greetings were exchanged and we were informed that the staff were looking forward to meeting us, which astounded Judi and I as we could not, for the life of us, figure out why these people would be the least bit excited in meeting either of us.
Even before we start the tour I had to take a picture of the motorcycle sitting in the lobby of the corporate office. Now mind you, this is not just any motorcycle - it is a custom Harley Chopper that was created for Founder & CEO Ryan DeLuca's 30th birthday that his loving wife (Bryna) had commissioned. She did a great job and commissioned only the best to build this custom chopper.
The builders commissioned of this custom chopper were none other than TV's famous family of custom motorcycle builders, Orange County Choppers (OCC).
It was drop dead beautiful and for an old Harley builder and rider like myself it was a wonderful addition to the trip. With pictures taken we were off and introduced to the people who make the website and store what it is.
I was stunned at how happy these people were to meet my wife and myself and each one took time out from their daily duties and told us how impressed and pleased they were that we drove down from Canada just to see them. Once again there were pictures taken with people whom I had only spoken with on the phone and I was honored that they agreed to pose with me for a photograph.
One of the things that both judimax and I noticed as we walked around the area where you order your supplements was the signage indicating how important the customer was.
These were not just some dime store posters tacked to the wall but rather framed and mounted under glass indicating to me the value placed on the object. One of them particularly caught my attention, it said, "Customer-Focused. We not only listen, we respond to what the customer says. We are obsessed to going the extra mile to make our customers happy."
I asked Alicia about them and she says that Bodybuilding.com stresses customer service and satisfaction and empowers each of the customer service representatives with the ability to solve whatever difficulty the customer may have. This means that if something is not to your satisfaction the customer service representative can remedy the situation.
There is no waiting while they call their supervisor or passing you along the chain of command. I really like their attitude. Something I hate is to try and resolve a situation and either have to be put on hold a hundred times until you reach the right person or my personal favorite, being told "someone will get back to you." If it sounds like I was impressed you are right, I was and continue to be very impressed.
Meeting Ryan DeLuca
Continuing our tour Alicia comes to a door and knocks and as I look at the nameplate on the door I see it says, Ryan DeLuca, CEO. I have been around the business world a bit and I have never seen any company that allows an employee to just walk up to and knock on the CEO's door, but as I was coming to understand, Bodybuilding.com was not just any company.
The door opened and there I was looking at the man who, just a few scant years before with not much more than a dream, started Bodybuilding.com and has made it into what it is today.
What astounded judimax and I next was that Ryan knew who we were and was looking forward to meeting us. After shaking hands and a bit of small talk we had a few minutes to talk bodybuilding and fitness and I could see that here was a man who was in it for more than just the money. Oh, I'm sure the money helps, but I got a sense of something more, something passionate, this man cares.
Ryan has more than enough money to retire on some tropical island and never worry about the day-to-day grind ever again, but that is not who he is. I get the feeling that he is a real, honest philanthropist who wants badly to see all of us fit and healthy and loves having a website that gives us the information that helps us in that endeavor.
I remember one of the things he said that leads me to that assumption. He talked about how the store side of Bodybuilding.com, where you can purchase at the best price possible almost any and every supplement on the market, is a separate entity that allows the Supersite side to operate. To me that shows a lot about the inner workings and character of the man. This earns him my respect.
The Boise Warehouse
As we left his office he asked if we had seen the warehouse yet and when I said no, he said that he wanted us to be able to visit that part of the operation also.
He told us that the men and women who run the warehouse are a huge part of Bodybuilding.com and he wanted us to know the great job that they were doing also. He said that the warehouse is in a different part of the city due to space limitations and when we got there I could see why. It was enormous. Think at least double the size of your regular grocery supermarket. I was shocked not only at the size of the facility but by all the activity that was going on.
Everywhere I looked people were moving and things were happening and it became a bit distracting, but once the who, what, where, when and how was explained to me it began to make sense. I learned what happens when your supplement order comes in; how it is identified, found and picked out from the myriad of other supplements, put into a basket and sent to the people who put it in the box with the Bodybuilding.com logo on it. It feels like Christmas morning every time I get to open it.
I saw first hand the number of checks and balances that are in place to help reduce errors and learned the pride taken in making sure that you don't get the wrong product in your package. I was told that mistakes still happen but they are working to make the chance of that happening less and less all the time. Once again I saw first hand how important customer service is.
Judimax and I had the privilege of meeting and talking to a few of the people who work in the warehouse and they told us how great they thought it was that we came down to see them. We had to tell them how much of an honor it was for us to meet them - the people who have the final hand in getting us our much sought after and in certain cases much needed products to help us continue our fitness journey.
I left the warehouse impressed by the quality of people who work there and by how hard they work. I will never, ever look at another box with Bodybuilding.com on it the same again.
Back at the corporate offices - We said our goodbyes and thanked the great people who took time out of their busy days and made our trip to Bodybuilding.com much more than we could ever have imagined.
After checking out of our hotel the next day and after driving for about an hour we received a call on our cell phone, it was my friend Amazing Active Alicia. She said she was just calling to make sure that we had gotten away OK and that everything was all right.
Wow! Just another indication of the great people we met and now come to think of as friends. Friends who are members of the Bodybuilding.com family.
Even though we are back home with the sun shining we feel a little bit sad at having to leave such a wonderful group of people, but we are buoyed by the knowledge that now whenever we phone, to either place an order or to get a bit of advice, we will now have a face to put with the name and will always feel a little closer to the wonderful people at Bodybuilding.com.