After almost three decades of turning out some of the highest quality exercise equipment in the world, Body Masters Sports Industries of Rayne is seeking protection from its creditors.

On Jan. 10, Body Masters filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, listing at least $6.8 million in debt. The company is owned by Rayne attorney Robert "Roddy" Cline, a former assistant district attorney in Acadia Parish, who founded the company with Boyer Coe and Mike Luquette. (Coe, who now lives out of state, is no longer involved with the company.)

Sources close to the company say Cline's son, Parrish, has been running the day-to-day operations, along with longtime employee Ray Boudreaux. Boudreaux left the company in the mid-1990s and launched CadEx on University Avenue in Lafayette but returned to Body Masters after CadEx failed.

Brian Bille, a spokesman for the company, declined comment last week. Bille says the company is preparing a statement that will be released to the public.

Body Masters, located at 700 E. Texas Ave. in Rayne (Hwy. 90) consumes almost a city block for its offices and plant. It designs, manufactures and markets strength equipment. Former employees say over the years the company has employed between 100 and 150 people, and at one time it employed as many as 220 people. (The Ind was unable to confirm the current employment level.) Sources say its annual sales have at times approached $26 million.

Though it has supplied privately owned health clubs throughout the world, including Red Lerille's and other local health facilities, the company also had significant contracts with the U.S. government. One fitness-industry source says Body Masters' government-related business has dropped off in recent times and surmises that the company has likely suffered from rising steel prices.

Known for its research and development, the company launched the Functional Trainer in 2004, a multi-purpose machine for strength training. It also rolled out a lighter, consumer version.




It's a Jungle in there

Lafayette's home to a lot of cool stuff. It's the heart of Cajun country and has some of the best cuisine in the world, but on Monday a Baton Rouge colleague wanted to be sure The Ind was plugged in about recent news on one of Lafayette's great amenities. "You guys have all the best stuff. First, it's fiber optics. Now, this," read his email, with a link to this local accolade: Lafayette has one of the 10 best restrooms in the country, and is now vying for the top spot. To see it for yourself, stop by Associated Travel Group's offices (formerly Associated Wayfarer) on Coolidge Street in the Oil Center and check out its jungle themed restroom. As it turns out, restaurant conditions matter more than you might think.

When Cincinnati-based Cintas Corp. began on online survey a few years ago ' along with surveying trade show attendees ' it discovered that more than 60 percent of people have not returned to a restaurant, casino or hotel because of poor bathroom conditions. "The restrooms are a reflection of how the business operates," says Carissa Frasca, the survey editor. Cintas, a corporate uniform company that sells a line of bath supplies through its Sanis division, launched the contest in 2001 to honor public bathrooms that combine style with cleanliness and hygiene.

Julie Bush, wife of Associated Travel owner Robbie Bush, designed all four of the travel agency's bathrooms to fit a variety of travel themes. Real coconut accessories, jungle themed candles and a small giraffe statue complement the hand-painted jungle scene in the handicapped facility, the largest of the four.

To cast your vote and view Associated's competition, go to www.bestrestrooms.com. Voting ends March 11.




River Spa expands

River Spa is moving to a bigger space in the City Club and expanding its offerings to include naturopathic health care services. Acupuncture, Chinese medicine, botanical supplements and nutritional advice, along with a mind and body fitness studio ' offering Pilates and Yoga mat classes and workshops ' are being added.

Now housed within the fitness center, River Spa will move this fall into a 3,500-square-foot vacant City Club space on Silverstone Road. "We'll have a street presence, which makes it more attractive to non-members," says City Club President Elsa Lemoine.

The 2-year-old River Spa currently offers massages, facials and nail services. "In two years' time, the spa business has doubled," Lemoine says. "We're maxed out."

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