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Local leotards to be featured on 'Ellen' and Super Bowl ad

January 6, 2012
BY MIKE DONAHEY - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Lynette Liston and staff of Marshalltown's Gym Digs, a fitness center and manufacturer of custom athletic wear, will be eagerly watching Friday's "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" from 4 to 5 p.m. on NBC.

And after catching their breath, will be looking for a Sony commercial during next month's Super Bowl.

Hostess DeGeneres is scheduled to give one of Gym Digs' custom-made leotards to gymnast Jordyn Weiber.

Article Photos

Staff of Marshalltown’s Gym Digs, a fitness center and sportswear manufacturer, pose Thursday afternoon at the business with a custom-made gymnast’s leotard. From left are owner Lynnette Liston, Julie Lavender and Jo Dysart.

And another one of the businesses' custom-made leotards will be highly visible during a Sony 3D television commercial during the Super Bowl.

The exposures are major accomplishments for the business which started approximately nine years ago with Liston as owner and sole employee. She has since added three employees and moved to larger quarters.

Old-fashioned service opened the door to the Ellen show.

Liston gave credit to employee Julie Lavender for quickly handling an urgent order from an Ellen staff person. It arrived in time and made an impression.

"We're blessed to have Julie working for us," Liston said.

That set the stage for the gift to Weiber.

"So, then, they (Ellen's staff) are having an Olympic gymnast come on the show ... they were having a group meeting and deciding they were needing to give her a leotard and (the staff person) spoke up and said 'I know where you can get one really quick.' We were blessed to have them call us right away."

The Super Bowl opportunity bore fruit in November when Gym Digs had the opportunity to provide leotards to be worn in a Sony 3D television commercial by a collegiate gymnast. The ad is scheduled to air Super Bowl Sunday, Liston said.

For that success, Lavender gave credit to Liston for wise business name placement on the Internet.

"She's really good at putting us high on the Google search," Lavender said.

"We work really hard on our online search-engine placement," Liston said. "So if you are looking for gymnastic leotards, we usually show up in the top ten on most everything."

Liston said the business started small.

"I was coaching gymnastics and tumbling at the Marshalltown Community Y. All of the kids were coming in wearing the same kind of leotards," she said. "So I started purchasing wholesale and selling to them. After a year or so, I had a fairly large inventory and I decided to see what would happen if I decided to sell some online."

The business has grown substantially.

In January, it moved to 905 N. Third Ave. and added a fitness studio, where Lavender and others teach classes. The custom-made athletic wear is made in the back.

The business continues to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise its products.

"We are trying to push social networking quite a bit as we are targeting teenagers," Liston said. "We really want to get the kids talking about us, that's a big hurdle we've overcome and we also want to get the moms."

Regardless of size and growth Liston stressed one important business assets.

"Everything here is custom-made," she said.

Gym Digs is at 905 N. Third Ave./Highway 14 N. and online at



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