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Carrboro, N.C. – Fleet Feet Sports, the retail leader in building thriving local running communities, held its annual National Franchise Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. June 22-25. The four-day event, hosted by Fleet Feet Sports Pittsburgh owner Bob Shooer and his staff, included a two-day educational workshop followed by an expo with more than 80 vendors and vendor partners.
The conference culminated in the brand’s awards banquet, where a record number 12 stores received grants to support ongoing charitable efforts in their respective communities. The brand also awarded a record number of Scholarships of Achievement, a recognition that has helped more than 150 young people associated with Fleet Feet Sports pursue their educational goals and career aspirations.
“Our conference theme was ‘Amplify,’ and I think everyone really took that to heart,” says Jeff Phillips, CEO and president of Fleet Feet Sports. “Working with Bob and his store staff, our team created an atmosphere that demonstrated what we have the potential to do when coming together, thinking bigger, and uniting as a brand behind very powerful messaging.”
The educational workshops focused on five specific topics—Retail, Marketing, C-Suite, Footwear, and Apparel—offering attendees a deeper dive with content directly related to creating leaders, growing business, elevating professionalism, and increasing efficiencies.
“We have two questions we ask ourselves when it comes to supporting our franchisees – is what we’re doing helping to grow their business and is it making their lives easier?” says Phillips. “Our content this year really focused on delivering that value to our franchisees in a way that was actionable as soon as they got back to their stores.”
Additional highlights included:
- The franchise system announced it currently stands at 150 total locations in the U.S. with the acquisition of the two FrontRunner locations in Columbus, Ohio by Tim Flahaven, owner of the Fleet Feet Sports Columbus location.
- The first ever AMLC Energy Run, a 3 and 5-mile run open to the entire Pittsburgh community, held in partnership with adidas and Fleet Feet Sports Pittsburgh.
- The first ever Runner’s Night at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Phillips threw out the first pitch of the game to Shooer, whose store sponsored the event.
- Two keynote speeches: the first by Under Armour co-founder Kip Fulks and the second by former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy.
National Franchise Conference by the Numbers:
- 142 stores represented
- 685 total attendees
- 31 Fleet Feet Inc. staff members attended
- 85 total expo vendors
- 17 first-time expo vendor attendees
– Grant Recipients –
The following Fleet Feet Sports franchise locations received grants:
- Chicago, Ill., for its work with Breakthrough Urban Ministries, courtesy of Nike.
- Greensboro / High Point, N.C., for its work with Fleet Feet Pickle to support Backpack Beginnings, courtesy of Superfeet.
- Knoxville, Tenn., for its work with A Hand up for Women, courtesy of Investors Management Corporation.
- Menlo Park, Calif., for its work with Stand Up 8, courtesy of Saucony.
- Monterey, Calif., for its work with VetFit, courtesy of Mizuno.
- Mount Pleasant, S.C., for its work with Support the Girls, courtesy of Brooks.
- Raleigh, N.C., for its work with Holiday Cheer Program, courtesy of New Balance.
- Richmond, Va., for its work with SpeakUp5K, courtesy of adidas.
- Sacramento, Calif., for its work with Project FIT, courtesy of Nathan Sports.
- Tucson, Ariz., for its work with Community Kicks: Youth Movement, courtesy of Balega International.
- West Hartford, Conn., for its work with Shoe Library, courtesy of Asics.
- Winston-Salem, N.C., for its work with Mission: Feet First, courtesy of Nathan Sports.
– Scholarship of Achievement Recipients –
The following students and Fleet Feet Sports store employees received scholarships:
Josh Olmeda, Aptos, Calif.
Malin Fontenot, Corpus Christi, Texas
Taylor Miller, Fort Mill, S.C.
Melissa Mulcher, Huntersville, N.C.
Kevin Mahoney, Louisville, Ky.
Will Powell, Portland, Maine
Alex Mimlitz, Nashville, Tenn.
Elizabeth Piperno, Orlando, Fla.
Blake Welling, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Casey Lewis, Roanoke, Va.
Megan Dolinskas, Syracuse, N.Y.
Ginger Farlee, Tucson, Ariz.
Kayli Gregory, Vacaville, Calif.
Kevin Rivera, West Hartford, Conn.
– Store / Owner Anniversaries –
The following Fleet Feet Sports franchise locations are celebrating 10-year anniversaries:
- Hickory, N.C.
- Madison, Wis.
- Gaithersburg, Md.
- Stockton, Calif.
- Owners Alan Rice and Susan Zepernick (over three locations – Chico, Ca., Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.)
The following Fleet Feet Sports franchise locations are celebrating 15-year anniversaries:
- Johns Creek, Ga.
- Syracuse, N.Y.