Fleet Feet Inc., the franchisor of running specialty stores, honored many of its franchises last week at its annual National Franchise Conference held in Chicago.
One of the big winners was Lisa and David Zimmer, owners of Fleet Feet Sports Chicago, IL, who earned Fleet Feet Sports Brand Builder Award. The award honors franchise for establishing and promoting the Fleet Feet Sports brand in their community and for contributions to the national Fleet Feet Sports network. The two opened their first Fleet Feet store in Chicago in 1996 and now have two in the area.
Stephanie and Carrie Blozy, owners of Fleet Feet Sports Hartford, CT, earned the New Store Development Award, recognizing successful franchises that have been in business more than one year and fewer than three years.
Christi Beth and Matt Adams, of Fleet Feet Sports Brentwood, TN, won the Pinnacle Award for demonstrating excellence in customer acquisition, staffing & customer experience, financial & inventory management, and vendor relations.
Among suppliers, Brooks Sports earned the Supplier of the Year "for providing excellent product, support and services." Fleet Feet noted that Brooks last year became the first brand to do more than $10 million in sales across its 90-store franchise network.
Saucony earned the Vendor Service Award in recognition of support and service levels.
Robyn Goby, director of marketing and communications, was given the Fleet Feet Sports Ambassador Award that recognizes "an individual for being an outstanding advocate of the Fleet Feet Sports brand."
Besides a trade show with sixty specialty vendors, Fleet Feet attendees also participated in education and business planning sessions. A particular focus by Fleet Feet was creating specific business units for training programs in order to streamline management, grow running participation, drive profitability and further upgrade the customer's experience.
"Training programs have exploded into a major driver for customer acquisition and have helped us evolve into the inclusive community-focused businesses we are today," said Jeff Phillips, president of Fleet Feet. Additional initiatives that were well received included an interactive online employee training tool, a new brand website and the introduction of a cloud-based point of sale system.