Dallas, January 9, 2008 - Fleet Feet, Incorporated, the nation’s leading franchisor of running specialty stores, gathered a record number of franchisees – representing 70 stores – and 38 apparel and footwear vendors at its annual Winter Franchise Conference January 7-10.
Nike, Inc. was honored as Fleet Feet’s Outstanding Apparel Vendor of 2007 for its growth in sales to Fleet Feet stores, as well as its customer service, product quality, shipping and overall commitment to the Fleet Feet organization.
Franchisees from 30 states attended workshops and an exclusive trade show featuring key apparel vendors such as adidas, Asics, Brooks, Champion, Mizuno, Moving Comfort, New Balance, Nike, Saucony, Sugoi among others. An awards dinner on Tuesday highlighted the record-breaking results for the Fleet Feet franchise in 2007 – more than $75 million in sales and a 14 percent comp store gain – as well as Nike’s honor and an annual community service award.
Fleet Feet President, Jeff Phillips, commented, “We have made great strides in 2007, not only in terms of sales growth, but in strengthening the brand. With the rollout of our Fitlosophy campaign, we’ve staked our place as the industry leader in FIT and demonstrated our commitment to helping customers find the right FIT for shoes, apparel, sports bras, nutrition, training programs and more.”
Nike was selected for the annual apparel award based on 2007 sales and feedback from franchisees. Comments from franchisees on a national survey included, “Nike has been the strongest performer in terms of sell through and consistency throughout the year…the Nike.net website has helped me at anytime of the day with ordering and up to minute availability…(Nike) continues to put out style, technical, fashion and quality apparel with a large amount to choose from and build a story.”
Balega International, a sock manufacturer and Fleet Feet vendor partner, awarded its third InDuna Award to Susan Frankel and Jeremy Perlin, owners of Fleet Feet Sports in Cincinnati. The InDuna Award is presented annually by Balega in recognition of a Fleet Feet Sports store that has made substantial contributions in their local communities.
Balega and Fleet Feet work jointly on the The Lesedi Project, a fundraising project to support the Ethembeni School in South Africa which serves 300 children with disabilities. This year’s fundraising efforts resulted in the purchase of a long-awaited school bus for the children in South Africa.
2007 InDuna award winners, Frankel and Perlin, supported their local school district’s physical fitness program by awarding children who met certain fitness goals with Lesedi bracelets made by the Ethembeni School children. Fleet Feet in Cincinnati also partnered with Balega to sponsor the “Lil Bug Run for Kids” at the annual Women’s Distance Festival, serving as the culminating fitness event the year.
“Susan and Jeremy’s enthusiasm for building connections between their community and Ethembeni to support the Lesedi Project was a beautiful endeavor,” said Balega CEO Russell Clark. “But, their support for Cincinnati goes well beyond this one project with events and fundraisers throughout the year for organizations from the Children’s Medical Cancer Center to Dress for Success. We are proud to recognize these wonderful Fleet Feet owners and their entire staff.”
About Fleet Feet Inc.
Fleet Feet, Inc. is the industry leader in franchising successful, community-oriented, specialty footwear, apparel, and accessory stores serving runners, walkers and lifetime fitness enthusiasts. Currently there are 80 Fleet Feet Sports stores located nationwide. Fleet Feet, Inc. offers support for existing and potential franchises from its corporate headquarters in Carrboro, North Carolina.