Sun Ergoline, Inc.
The Evolution Of A Global Leader
by Matt Morgan
Sun Ergoline, Inc. is one of the leading tanning-bed manufacturers in the United States. It is backed by the financial and technological support of its German-based parent (JK-Holding), the quality of its U.S. manufacturing workforce, and the dedication of its North American distribution network. These factors, combined with trend-setting and reliable equipment, have positioned Sun Ergoline as a global force in tanning.
JK-Holding GmbH of Bad Honnef, Germany, first set foot in the United States in 1999 as the new owner of SUN Industries, a Jonesboro, Ark.-based equipment manufacturer. By adding JK’s Germanexported Ergoline products to SUN Industries’ existing Sundash products, it seemed natural to change the company name to Sun Ergoline.
Today, Sun Ergoline operates under the holding company JK North America, the U.S. subsidiary of JK-Holding. In the last few years, JK has assembled a number of companies that provide products and services to cover nearly all aspects of the tanning industry: Global Sun Light, which sells replacement lamps; SunLync LLC, which offers point-of-sale network software; JK Capital, Inc., a provider of financing and leasing; T.W. Enterprises (T.W. Tan), an indoor tanning lotion distributor; and Soltron, Inc., which was launched in 2003 to offer a totally different concept of tanning equipment.
The most recent development has been an increase in the manufacturing capabilities of the Jonesboro location. In December, the facility will be renamed JK Products USA, Inc. to reflect the company’s evolution.
“The role of the Jonesboro plant in our worldwide operations is going to increase significantly,” says Michael Hadjinian, president and CEO of JK North America. “It used to be the Sundash manufacturing facility. What it’s becoming is one of the global sourcing points for the JK companies.”
By manufacturing more equipment in the United States, JK can avoid some of the rising costs associated with importation from Europe. “We will become very costcompetitive,” Hadjinian says. “Our plant, JK Products USA, and the plant in Germany, JK Products GmbH, are basically sister companies working on a very cooperative basis on optimal global sourcing.”
The newly renamed Jonesboro plant will build three different brands of beds: Sundash, Ergoline and Soltron—“and even additional products that the JK family might have in the future,” he says. “So you really can’t call the plant Sun Ergoline anymore. The new name will become JK Products USA, so that we can produce products in that plant for all of the different businesses that we have.”
Satisfying Many Needs
JK-Holding in Germany puts considerable resources into building products to give end users a wonderful experience and give salon owners incredible price-to-performance/ appearance ratios, Hadjinian says.
Sundash and Ergoline, the two brands that constitute Sun Ergoline, work in concert with each other to satisfy the needs of just about any salon owner.
“Sundash products are the workhorses,” he says. “Salons will have a Sundash bed and it will last 12 years; it just performs and performs and performs. It’s a very reliable unit.”
Ergoline is a highly styled, Europeansophisticated product. It came to the United States to provide tanning comfort such as air conditioning and special features like voice guides that hadn’t before been seen by tanners.
“Most salon owners put Sundash as the entry-level beds, and they put Ergoline as the level 2, 3 and 4 beds,” he says. “They’ll be able to upgrade the customers from a basic product up to get a better tanning experience. The typical salon in America would pick a mixture of the two product lines.”
The Next Generation
The 2004 ITA World Expo will be the stage for a new generation at Sun Ergoline. The Sundash and Ergoline lines will introduce product enhancements and new equipment.
The Sundash Competition is the company’s best-selling tanning unit, Hadjinian says, because it continues to deliver what salon owners want: a competitive price for a long-lasting, reliable, high-performance unit.
Sun Ergoline is enhancing the series for the new season, without changing its positioning in the company’s mix of products. “The next generation of the Competition model is simply an improvement in the engineering,” he says. “It’s still going to be very cost-competitive and continue to offer the same high level of performance.”
Since their introduction a few years ago, the Ergoline Classic units—the 450, 600 and Avantgarde—have redefined tanning performance, Hadjinian says. However, the series is phasing out over time in favor of recent and upcoming additions to the brand.
At last year’s ITA World Expo, Sun Ergoline unveiled seven new Ergoline beds in three new product lines: Excellence (800 in two models), Evolution (600 in two models, and 500) and Advantage (400 and 350).
The new products include air conditioning, voice guides and other premium features such as Balanced Tan, Temptronic climate control, Aqua Mist & Aroma, and Vibra Sound.
Plus, a new standup called Lounge has been a huge hit, far exceeding the company’s sales projections. “Salon owners just love the styling,” Hadjinian says. “It’s undoubtedly the most attractive, most highly-featured standup in the industry.”
The Excellence 850, the new top product in the Excellence Series, was launched at the Las Vegas Tanning Expo in June. “It features the greatest high-pressure performance we have ever offered,” he says.
Ergoline will continue its innovative trend with next month’s unveiling of the Ambition Series. Three new units will include 32-lamp and 40-lamps models. “It’s a collaborative effort between the German engineers and U.S. engineers,” he says. It gives salon owners the best of both worlds: the proven quality and reliability of German engineering and the cost-effectiveness of U.S. sourcing.
“It’s going to be the best-looking entrylevel bed you’ve ever seen,” Hadjinian says. “We believe our new Ambition Series will set a new level in terms of price, performance and appearance. It’s going to be the highest standard in the marketplace.”
Sun Ergoline influences the market by offering stylish and functional tanning equipment followed by superior support.
Top-notch customer support at Sun Ergoline involves three key components, Hadjinian says: 1) very good installation of equipment, 2) timely and responsive servicing of that equipment, and 3) “providing the full range of products that a salon owner needs to help him or her make money and do business,” he says.
To serve North America, the company relies on a network of 13 exclusive independent distributors that serve the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as three factory branches.
The support they offer includes marketing in the form of lifestyle image posters and mailing materials. The company constantly is producing new ways for salons to promote themselves. For example, a new service unveiled in June allows salon owners to visit the Sun Ergoline Web site and order posters with a lifestyle picture with personalized captions.
Its annual magazine, Sun Business, gives salon owners ideas on how to better run their salons. Also, Sun Gallery magazine showcases salons that have been successful with Sun Ergoline equipment.
Sometimes, support can be financing or salon build-out expertise, Hadjinian says. Also, it can be providing education and training seminars.
“Speakers like Anthony Tesoriero are featured at different industry events to speak about how to do better marketing and make salons more competitive,” he says. “We have a whole range of things that we provide. It isn’t just the equipment— it’s the many things that surround the equipment in order to help salon owners have a complete set of products and services so that they’re successful in their businesses.”
The moves made in the United States by JK-Holding, exciting and new tanning equipment, and customer support are designed shift Sun Ergoline from one of the leading suppliers to the leading supplier in North America. That is the company’s five-year goal.
“I don’t want to say that in a boastful way,” Hadjinian says. “We can only work hard to earn that success.”
It is through a network of independent distributors that Sun Ergoline is able to offer Sundash and Ergoline equipment to tanning salons throughout the United States.
“We have the best independent distribution network of any company in North America, and we continue to build and strengthen that network,” says Michael Hadjinian, president and CEO of Sun Ergoline’s U.S.-based parent company, JK North America. “Our exclusive independent distributors are totally dedicated to customer service. They do an incredible job.”
- American Sun Systems
- SCA Sun Systems
- Atlantic Tanning Distributors, Inc.
- Sunbed Supply
- Darker Image Tanning Systems
- Sunmax Tanning
- Electric Sun
- Sun Avantgarde, USA
- Forever Tan
- Tan Marketing
- Monastesee, Inc.
- Tan Me
- Open Sun
In addition, there are three factory branches, which essentially are Sun Ergoline-owned distributorships. They aim to provide the same products and high level of service that other distributors have been providing for years.
- Sun Ergoline (South), Jonesboro, Ark.
- Sun Ergoline (West), Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
- Sun Ergoline (Northeast), Blacklick, Ohio
“Between our independent distributors and our factory branches, we seek to provide the highest level of service in the industry and a full line of products all across North America,” Hadjinian says.
Visit www.sunergoline.com for details on a particular distributor.