There are identical entrances, each flanked by two inviting-looking black rockers, at the front and rear of the space (which is considerably smaller than Run For Your Life-Dilworth but larger than RFYL-University, for comparison's sake). The look is clean and minimalist, with beautiful dark hardwood floors and very little clutter. Products by Brooks, Asics, Mizuno, Nike, Saucony, New Balance and more are displayed attractively along the walls, with just three tidy racks of clothing sharing the floor with the register/counter and a display featuring hats and Fleet Feet water bottles. There's also a treadmill for gait analysis, and a unisex restroom.
I recently caught up with Kristin Harris -- who has worked at a number of YMCAs in the Charlotte area and also has been a massage therapist -- to talk about the new Fleet Feet and what its got in store for the local running community.
Q. How'd opening day go?
Q. Aside from being a purveyor of shoes, apparel and accessories, how else will the store contribute to the area's running community?
We absolutely look forward to becoming an extension of the Lake Normal fitness community. We are planning on being involved with a number of races at various levels. Several Lake Norman running groups meet in the Birkdale area for their weekly runs and we look forward to partnering with them also. We are planning various "Fun Runs" starting up in the near future. Our first No Boundaries program, which is Fleet Feet's signature training program where we partner with New Balance to train participants for their first 5K, will start in the summer. Also, your readers may be interested to know that we are hosting the weekend Road Runners Club of America running coach certification workshop May 15-16. It will be held in Davidson at Community School of Davidson. Maybe one of your readers is intersted in becoming a coach! They can find more info at www.rrca.org.
Q. A lot of people in this area are already loyal to a particular running store. Do you see challenges in this regard, or do you think geography and "something new" play heavily to your advantage?
I do not see this as a challenge. The Lake Norman area is exploding with growth, and our plan is to build our own loyal customer base.
Q. How did opening this new franchise all come together for you guys? How did you go about choosing the location?
We recognized the need for a store in the Lake Norman area after years of having to travel to other stores in the Charlotte area to buy our shoes. My sister participated in a No Boundaries program at another Fleet Feet feet store, and we heard how great they were. Their philosophies and values on customer service, lifetime fitness, and community involvement matched ours, and one year later, here we are.