Welcome to 2017! An opportunity for a fresh start. A clean slate waiting to be filled with adventures, achievements and good times.
A friend and fellow Fleet Feet Sports owner named Boots gave me some great advice last week. He said that the start of a new year is not the time to look back, rather it's the time to look ahead because looking forward is a reflection of all the hard work that's been done in the past. It is the finish line of all the bricks that were laid, all the miles that have been run. So instead of reviewing 2016, I want to give you a preview of 2017 - our 20th year in business - because it's going to be GREAT!
Women's Annex Closing & Clearance Sale:
I'll start with the bittersweet. We will be closing our Women's Annex at the end of this month as our lease is ending on that space. While I loved the extra (beautiful!) space, it felt disjointed from our main store and magnified the challenging retail environment that have affected so many brick-and-mortar stores including major stores like Macy's, Sears and The Sports Authority. Having one unified space will help us refocus our efforts and elevate our in-store experience and expertise to earn back your business.
Since we will only be able to fit a curated collection of apparel and accessories in our main store, we are hosting a huge
Moving Forward Sale beginning this Friday. Everything in the Annex will be
20-50% off - though, if you scroll to the bottom of this newsletter, you'll find a coupon for an extra 10% off as a reward for reading. In addition to the women's apparel and over 700 sports bras, there will also be some men's apparel, retired shoe models and accessories. It's going to be a whopper of a sale so if you need gear, put a trip to Fleet Feet on your To-Do List!
And while this may seem to be a temporary step backward, we have plans for some giant leaps in 2017 beginning with:
The Evolution of Footwear Fit:
We are super excited to have been selected as one of eight stores across the country to pilot an incredible new technology that will enable us to elevate our shoe fit experience. Last week I was able to see the technology in action and it is simply incredible!
We will be able to dynamically pressure map you're your feet in motion and make a 3D scan of your feet that can be virtually inserted into sneakers that have also been 3D-scanned to quickly determine whether the shoe will fit properly in terms of length, width, volume and hot-spots. Since finding the right shoe is a mix of science and art, our staff will still use their expertise to help further match your preferences when it comes to cushioning, responsiveness, support, use, injuries...and color! Our goal is to help you find the perfect match as efficiently as possible so you can get on with your busy day.
In the not too distant future, we will be able to 3D print custom insoles to your foot's unique shape to enhance how your shoes fit even more - and ultimately, we want to be able to custom create your entire shoe via 3D printing and knitting in store. Wow!!
In 2017, Fleet Feet Sports will become the exclusive retail partner in the US for Karhu Running footwear. What makes this exciting is that we have a say in the development of the product, which is unheard of in our industry. Recently a team of Fleet Feet Sports owners (Sneaker Geeks deserving of the "capital G") spent a few days in Asolo, Italy working with Design & Development, Inc. alongside the owners of Karhu.
They examined where the product currently is and where it needs to go. There were many discussions around fit, feel, comfort, mesh, overlays - everything that makes a shoe. The goal is to help build a truly outstanding running shoe using the feedback that we hear from customers like you. This summer, we will help launch Karhu's shoes featuring their all-new Ortix Fit - an innovative new fit method that creates a more ergonomically fitted shoe that supports the foot while releasing pressure at the heel and 1st & 5th metatarsals. Super comfy!
We're going to put the "special" back into Run Specialty Store by carrying a wider assortment of shoes built for the road, trail, track and gym and offering unique apparel brands you can't find in big box stores like Oiselle, Ink N'Burn and coming this October, Kari Traa - a Norwegian company that is taking Europe by storm.
We were the first running store to offer the
tag (invented by a local duo) which was just awarded Women's Health Editor's Pick at the CES show in Las Vegas (congrats!) and will continue to search out new products and brands that can make running more fun and enjoyable. We welcome your
Special Pricing on Select Product Categories:
We know running can get kind of expensive with all the cool new things that come out and race entry fee's getting higher. While our business is built around high-service and knowledge, we try to be aware of how pricing can affect people.
- Did you know that when a new model of shoe comes out, we instantly drop the price of the previous model by 20%? This will continue in 2017.
- Track and Field and Cross Country competition footwear will now be reduced by 20% off MSRP every day of the year in our stores. Having kids in sports can get expensive, but we want to help you keep them active and motivated.
- Trail shoes will now be specially-priced every day of the year in store. We know that for most runners, trail shoes are a second or third pair after your daily road trainers. We also know that running trails is so much fun, and we want to help get more people out doing it. We are not allowed by vendor agreements to say what the special pricing is but it will give you a reason and a benefit to shop local.
Look for our 20th Birthday Bash celebration, fun runs & walks, meet-ups on both sides of the river, Stride Clinics, Run Happy Hours, Urban Challenges, Friday pub runs and a really big event to celebrate Global Running Day in June. We strive to provide opportunities for the community to come together and have some fun while being healthy - we hope you'll join us!
Enhanced Training Programs:
We offer some of the largest and most well-respected
in the state ranging from beginner 5k to the Marathon to our super fun Zoomerang kids running program. We believe that our coaches and mentors are among the best, and we will work hard to make each and every training program we offer even better. It's exciting to help hundreds of runners every year achieve their goals - especially those to whom running is now part of their lifestyle.
This is our
corporate outreach program
which we have been testing in 2016 and will make more available in 2017. We know people are busy. We also know businesses want their employees to be healthy, which is why we take "the show on the road." Businesses of all sizes can work with us where we bring the product, knowledge and experts of Fleet Feet Sports right to where you work. How fortunate it is to be able to get fit right at work and head home with new shoes? Yup, we do that!
Fight for $15:
We support the national campaign to increase the minimum wage to at least $15/hour and commit to achieving that standard by 2020. We are proud of our efforts to offer a liveable wage, as well as benefits like health insurance contributions, matching 401k and paid time off.
Our staff is our most important resource. They work really hard activating all of the things we want to do for our communities. They work hard to provide an exceptional experience to every person they service. Working in retail is never easy but we know our team is worth the investment. Know that when you choose to shop local, you are showing your support of them too!
As you can see, 2017 is going to be an exciting and busy year - exactly how we like it! Busy means we are doing more to build our communities, to help people live fit and get healthy, to try new things and to explore our wondrous world and the people we share it with. We love seeing people push themselves, set crazy goals and then do the hard work to achieve them.
We welcome you to share our mantra to Move Forward this year. Thanks for being a part of Fleet Feet and making it great. We hope to see you in the store, out for a walk, at the races, on the trails, training with us, having fun, getting fit, making friends...living life!