As the New Year is now in full swing, we want to share with you some of what we have in store for 2017. We are very excited about what this new year will bring – this is certainly a time of discord and unrest in our world. Running/walking/fitness is a proven way to relieve stress and to improve one’s overall health and outlook when times are tough and/or challenging. We all know the feeling we get when we go for a run or walk and the stress of the day just melts away. Over the past fourteen years Lori and I have always marveled at how the local community we have all built has always come together regardless of race, creed, or political inclination. When we toe the line at the local 5k, we do so together, all equal. We all love running, walking, or fitness and that mutual respect we have for the activity is what helps us cross those cultural gaps to find common ground with others.
The community we have built has been a great melting pot at a hyper local level and it’s what fuels our desire to push on and continue to do our best for the overall wellness of our very special community. The running and walking community in the Tulsa area is alive, well and thriving. In 2017 we plan to further enhance what we have done so far to make it even better.
We will offer new opportunities and training programs to help you be FIT and healthy. We will host new races, group runs and events where you can have fun, improve yourself and meet new people. We will introduce new vendors and products, some of which are exclusive to Fleet Feet Sports. We will provide additional training for our team, so that we can continue to learn and elevate the level of service we provide.
Here's a sneak peek and a little more detail about what lies ahead:
We have been working with the vendor community in developing a new way to better fit our customers. We will be testing and using amazing new techniques and technology to help you find the absolute best fitting footwear. We have been fitting footwear for a long time, and the only significant update to the process was in 2004 when Fleet Feet Sports introduced a standardized FIT Process that most in the specialty industry have since adopted. What is coming next takes it to a whole new level; leveraging new technology and data to allow our Fit Professionals to even better assess for you what footwear is best. The combination of technology and our locally trained Fit Professionals will give you the best fitting experience anywhere.
In 2017, we 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 from Fleet Feet Sports spent a few days in Italy working alongside the owners of Karhu. They examined where the product currently is, what the next versions are like, and most importantly the versions after that. 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 every day from the fit stool.
Look for fun runs, exciting new store events, and something totally unexpected in June. We always want to provide opportunities for the community to come together and have some fun while being healthy, so we are busy planning several new and exciting events for everyone to enjoy. 2016 was a great year for Fleet Feet Tulsa races – we saw almost all of our races grow, and many were sold out. We are always keeping our eye open for new ways to better engage and encourage you to be active through our races. We introduced a season long 4 Seasons Challenge that included four of our races, one in each season, and nearly 400 of you took the opportunity to challenge yourself and complete the series. We do all of these things to better our community and bring so many of you together to have fun, meet new people, and improve your overall wellness.
2017 is a landmark year in Tulsa as we look forward to celebrating the 40th anniversary of the iconic Tulsa Run. We are very happy to be able to partner with the Tulsa Sports Commission on this event and provide the official training programs for the Tulsa Run. I ran my first Tulsa Run in 1980, and it was my first real big-race experience. I know many of you share that same experience. The Tulsa Run is special and this year we will help the entire community celebrate it.
In 2017, we will continue to do all we can to enhance and improve the signature endurance race in our city – the Williams Route 66 Marathon. Last year we asked for help from the community as the event dealt with a serious injury to our leader and founder, Chris Lieberman. And you responded. The entire Board of Directors of the marathon is very thankful for the great out-pouring of support for not only the race but also Chris, Kim and their families. We look forward to another great race in 2017 and are happy to report that Chris is steadily improving on his “marathon” to full recovery.
We have been offering training programs since we opened our doors in 2003. We are lucky in that we now have some of the largest and most well respected programs in the country. In 2017 we will work hard to make each and every training program we offer even better. It's exciting to help hundreds of runners and walkers every year achieve their goals. Some we have taken from the couch to the finish line of a marathon (via No Boundaries, WalkFit Camp, Pathways, WalkFit Distance, and HIT/MIT) in just a few short years. Programs are always evolving and 2017 will see more amenities and support for all of our participants. Our coaches and pace leaders are the best around. We were the first to offer such services in Tulsa and we are always working to improve them, so be ready for some great training in 2017.
We believe that our employees are our best asset and have worked to create a culture of continuous learning. Education and learning needs to be continuous – we have in place a detailed process to make our Fit Professionals the best in the business. It’s our team that makes the difference. We all know you can buy most product anywhere these days, especially online. But what you can’t buy is that personal interaction you get when you step inside our store and our team helps you diagnose what solutions are best for you. We are proud to employee nearly 40 local Tulsa area residents, who work daily in our stores, on our training programs, and at our races to make this community strong. Your support of all aspects of our business allows us to re-invest in our team and community and offer more local opportunities for career growth in this vibrant industry.
We are always researching and looking for new products for runners and walkers to enjoy. In 2016 we brought in numerous new vendors that had not been available in our market, and currently we are looking at several more that you will soon see on our shelves. We have always been innovators in our market, and we aim to bring new and exciting products to you. We will continue to search for new products and brands that can make running, walking and fitness more fun and enjoyable.
In 2016, we rolled out our new corporate outreach program 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 to 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.
So, looking ahead, you can see we are going to be busy; exactly what we like. Busy means we are doing more to build our communities. We are getting more people outside working out, getting healthy and trying new things. We love seeing more people pushing themselves, setting goals, and working hard to achieve them. For 2017, we will do everything we can to assist as many people as we can in reaching those goals, whether it's finishing their first 5k, completing a Marathon, or hitting those 10,000 steps a day.
Best of luck with your 2017! 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...
Tim, Lori and the entire team at Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa | Broken Arrow