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Fleet Feet Sports, the retail leader in building thriving local running communities, announces that Tim Flahaven, owner of the Columbus, Ohio, Fleet Feet Sports franchise, will acquire FrontRunner, a running retailer with two locations in Columbus.
With the acquisition, co-founder and current FrontRunner owner Kevin O’Grady will move into an ambassador role for all three locations. The acquisition will be finalized June 15.
“This is just a great example of the power of local ownership and putting the community first,” says Jeff Phillips, CEO and president of Fleet Feet Sports. “Kevin is able to transition ownership of the business the way he wanted, leaving his customers, staff, vendor partner relationships, and legacy in the hands of Tim and his amazing team at Fleet Feet Sports Columbus.”
Fleet Feet Sports has an extensive track record of local support in the Columbus community, holding over 200 local races annually through its Premier Racing event management company. The store coached over 1,800 participants last year through its training programs, which range from beginning distances to half and full marathon.
The acquisition affirms Fleet Feet Sports continued commitment in building thriving local running communities, and speaks to the goal of supporting the Columbus running community holistically and conveniently, says Flahaven.
“Kevin and his staff have done a fantastic job with FrontRunner for close to 30 years,” says Flahaven. “I’m excited about building on the legacy that Kevin has created by bringing additional resources and support into those locations for customers, and continue delivering training programs, epic service and support, sought-after products, and an unrivaled in-store experience.”
O’Grady co-founded FrontRunner, Central Ohio’s first running store, in 1987 with Richie Cohen-Smith, who retired in 2009. Staffs of both stores, as well as all vendor partners, were notified earlier this week about the acquisition.
Following the acquisition, the current Fleet Feet Sports location in Lewis Center and the FrontRunner location in Upper Arlington will have complete physical therapy practices embedded in-store. In addition to physical therapy, the practices will conduct runner and walker gait diagnostics, active release therapy, and athletic trainer injury evaluations.
The practices will work closely with Dr. Darrin Bright’s OhioHealth Max Sports Medicine practice. Dr. Bright, medical director of both the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon and the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon, is a preeminent physician in the region for treating runners and walkers.
With the addition of the two FrontRunner locations, Fleet Feet Sports now has a total of eight locations across the state of Ohio; the original Columbus location, a two-store franchise in Cincinnati, and a three-store franchise in Cleveland. Fleet Feet Sports Columbus first opened its doors in 2005.