Business

Boise’s Bodybuilding.com lays off at least 90 workers in pre-Christmas downsizing

Kirk Calzacorta, a senior manager in the offline marketing department, works at Bodybuilding.com’s headquarters at 5777 N. Meeker Ave. in 2015
Kirk Calzacorta, a senior manager in the offline marketing department, works at Bodybuilding.com’s headquarters at 5777 N. Meeker Ave. in 2015 doswald@idahostatesman.com

Bodybuilding.com, the Boise online retailer of nutrition and weightlifting supplements, laid off at least 90 workers Thursday, sources said.

Three sources connected to the company told the Statesman of the layoffs. Bodybuilding.com sent the Statesman an email confirming an “organizational downsizing” but provided no tally. The company would not say whether all of the layoffs are local.

“The change is part of an ongoing planned restructure designed to strengthen Bodybuilding.com’s core business and reach a wider set of customers,” wrote Keith Sivera, director of offline marketing.

The e-commerce company employed between 450 and 500 workers in the Treasure Valley, according to the most recent quarterly report from the Idaho Department of Labor. It reported having about 575 employees in the Valley last February, when incoming CEO Richard Jalichandra was named by owner Liberty Interactive Corp. to succeed founder and minority owner Ryan DeLuca, who resigned. At the time, Jalichandra told the Statesman that the company was more likely to hire workers than to cut staff.

DeLuca told the Statesman on Thursday that he is no longer in the loop at Bodybuilding.com but wishes the company success.

“E-commerce is tough and getting tougher with competition from Amazon and thousands of others,” he said.

DeLuca said he was sad for the laid-off employees whose dedication helped build Bodybuilding.com.

“I’m also hopeful that the company will find a way to get back to long-term, sustainable and profitable growth and can look back at this as a bump in the road,” he said.

In 2015, Bodybuilding.com told the Statesman that it sold about 15,000 different supplements. About 40 percent of its sales involved protein products.

Bodybuilding.com does not disclose revenue, but in August 2015, the company told the Statesman that it was on pace to reach a half-billion dollars in sales that year.

Deluca, a Capital High School graduate, started the company in his garage in 1999. He said his father called him “an idiot” when he spent $20,000 securing the Bodybuilding.com domain name.

After outgrowing its first headquarters, Bodybuilding.com completed construction and moved into an $18-million, 100,000-square-foot headquarters at 5777 N. Meeker Ave. off Chinden Boulevard in 2013. The building included a large gym that employees were given schedule flexibility to use.

In 2012, the company, DeLuca and his brother, former company President Jeremy DeLuca, were ordered by a federal judge to pay $8.1 million as part of a plea deal to resolve misdemeanor charges of selling misbranded products. Prosecutors said Bodybuilding.com sold products labeled as dietary supplements that contained synthetic anabolic steroids or clones of synthetic steroids.

Bodybuilding.com agreed to pay $7 million, Ryan DeLuca $500,000 and Jeremy DeLuca $600,000.

Since leaving the company, Ryan DeLuca has launched BlackBox VR, a virtual reality exercise company in Boise.

Bodybuilding.com has paid to build outdoor gyms in Boise parks. In 2015, the company donated $80,000 to pay for 15 pieces of exercise equipment and five years of maintenance at Camel’s Back Park. Equipment includes a sit-up bench, leg press, rowing machine and squat press. The company funded a similar outdoor gym at Ann Morrison Park installed in 2013. The gyms are free to use.

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