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Building ‘Streignth,’ Growing Motivation

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Shane Skaar founded Streignth Sportswear Apparel during J-Term of his freshman year at UW-La Crosse.

Since the junior started his business, he's watched his product line, his workforce, and the value of his company grow.

Skaar has learned a thing or two about perseverance throughout his life.

He was born with a rare chest condition where his sternum caved in, causing physical pain. In his early childhood, he faced bullying, becoming extremely self-conscious on how he looked.

But when Skaar was 15, he decided to do something about it, undergoing a life-threatening surgery to fix his sternum.

The operation was successful, and out of that, a personal mantra was born.

"I just developed a mindset that if I want something bad I'm going to do whatever it takes to make it happen," said Skaar.

That mindset ultimately led him toward a life in fitness, and UW-La Crosse led him toward a life in business.

"I thought if I could combine them into something that could motivate people then it would be the dream job for sure so that's how Streignth came about," said Skaar.

Through word of mouth, Skaar began selling his fitness apparel and recruiting local athletes like Jenna Fitzpatrick and Tristan Johnson.

"It gives me a platform to use my voice and like what I've gone through and use my personal story and like tie it to a brand," said Fitzpatrick. "That's how you make people fall in love with a brand. It’s not necessarily the brand, it's the people in it.

Skaar also built a team of over 100 ambassadors both locally and nationally who receive discounts on gear and commission in exchange for helping sell products and making posts on social media like TikTok and Instagram.

"This is a huge hot spot for fitness in La Crosse, so we're very fortunate for that we've got just the perfect clientele, and we’ve been able to branch off even more than just La Crosse," said Skaar. "I mean we’ve gone to all 50 states now."

Those strategies have served as a jumping-off point. Now, Skaar has had to innovate during the pandemic offering new products like virtual training and branded masks.

The La Crosse County Health Department recently purchased 6,000 of his masks for $10,650 according to health director Jen Rombalski. The department plans to distribute these masks to young people in hopes of curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Moves like this have kept the growing business more than afloat.

"I've been able to hire employees now. We’ve got a social media manager, videographer, photographer, designers, so were thriving," said Skaar.

The UW-La Crosse junior hopes to see his apparel in storefronts across the country one day and believes his journey can help inspire others in chasing their dreams.

"He's done a great job at this so far like doing all of this mostly by himself, and I think that's where we kind of help and come in so its not always on him," said Tristan Johnson.

"I do the best I can to motivate as many people as I can," said Skaar. "That's my life goal. That's what I’ve decided the last year and a half with Streignth. Through the brand, we just want to motivate as many people as we can."

You can learn more about Streignth by visiting

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Mike Beiermeister

WXOW Weekend Anchor and Reporter

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