North Shore native revives homegrown business, using late wife as motivation for revamped brand
By Jenni Culkin
After two decades, a Smithtown-based fitness clothing line that once enjoyed stellar success in the 1990s is making a brute and swift comeback.
Robert Alario, who was born and raised in Smithtown, started bodybuilding as a junior high school student.
He used his weight-lifting skills to develop his wrestling team reputation, eventually becoming co-captain of the team.
“Fitness has always been at the center of my entire life,” Alario said.
Alario originally began selling his products under the brand name BRUTE FORCE INC., during 1988 at Macy’s through a licensing agreement. The brand was completely homegrown with a Smithtown resident using Smithtown businesses to help propel him to fitness clothing prominence on a local scale and beyond.
But Alario eventually decided to take a break from the business, citing a problem with the licensing agreement.
Alario officially began bringing the line back in 2013, raising funds from private investors and crowdsourcing.
Alario is making his way back to success in his business without a licensing deal this time.
“I’m setting the stage for a multimillion-dollar platform,” said Alario. “I’m going for it.”
BRUTE FORCE’s website will be up and running in mid-May. The World Gym in Ronkonkoma will also be selling the clothing.
“I call it fashion-forward fitness ware,” Alario said about his clothing line.
Alario continued to describe the clothing line as sexy, explaining that the clothes don’t conform to the status quo.
Products from Alario’s BRUTE FORCE clothing line are being manufactured locally in a factory in Bellmore. But what motivates Alario most of all, he said, is bringing the clothing line back to life in the wake of his late wife Angela, who died from a pulmonary aneurysm after undergoing a surgery several years ago.
Angela was once a model for Gold’s Gym television commercials and was enthusiastic about fitness just like Alario. Alario restarted his business, calling her the inspiration for the new and improved line of clothing.
The tags on each piece of clothing even bear the words, Inspired By Angela.
“She’s amazing in every way,” Alario said about his late wife, explaining that she was always encouraging him to get back to his business. “I learned a lot from her and I see through her eyes.”
Alario currently lives in Miller Place with the hope of moving back to his hometown of Smithtown sometime soon to spread the word of his comeback. He has two stepsons, Angela’s sons, who are planning on becoming doctors.
BRUTE FORCE has huge plans, including plans to eventually expand into footwear to go with the clothing line. Alario can be reached at 800-326-9059.
“This is not a small-time thing,” Alario said. “We’re going to make it big.”