Fleet Feet Celebrates 2020 Innovation and Growth, Announces Team Expansion
February 26, 2021 // Franchising.com // CARRBORO, N.C. - Fleet Feet today announced significant growth and success in 2020, with its 182 locally owned and operated locations serving nearly 1.2 million customers amid the pandemic. Other annual achievements included the opening of five new locations, the incorporation of dynamic pressure mapping technology to its in-store outfitting process, the addition of three charitable partners under the brand’s national charitable arm, Do the Run Thing™, the expansion of its distribution center, the triple-digit growth of its e-commerce site, and the bolstering of its Store Support Team to foster continued growth.
“As I look back on 2020, I’m in awe of what Fleet Feet was able to accomplish,” said Joey Pointer, CEO and president of Fleet Feet. “Early on in the pandemic, the state of retail was fragile and fragmented with different local ordinances. Thankfully, we had the infrastructure and more importantly, nimble and determined franchise owners and employees at every level within our stores and Store Support Team, in place to help us quickly adapt our operations and continue to serve our customers. It was a total team effort that embodies our core value of “Run Together” in times both good and challenging.”
Additional highlights and details of the brand’s 2020 growth and success follows in the below sections.
A major focus of Fleet Feet’s customer service innovation included launching appointment scheduling and queue management software, an especially timely development that allowed stores to adhere to local ordinances and social distancing guidelines while continuing to serve customers throughout the pandemic. Additionally, the company created and launched virtual fittings within 48 hours of an almost complete shutdown of systemwide in-store retail operations.
Fleet Feet also elevated its in-store outfitting experience, fit id®, by introducing dynamic pressure mapping to its existing 3D foot scanning technology. The integration, currently available in 100 stores, launched in September and allows Fleet Feet to offer individualized footwear solutions from biometric data captured in-store.
From a retail operations personnel standpoint, the company promoted Matt Werder to Senior Director of Retail Operations overseeing company-owned and franchise stores, Alex Tallman to Senior Manager of Retail Experience leading education, the Leadership Development Program training, and overseeing the brand’s Retail Experience Managers, and Amy Rihel to Retail Trainer to support retail experience initiatives.
Fleet Feet’s digital business grew 200% in 2020, buoyed by shifting consumer shopping trends as well as key infrastructure updates. The digital team launched a new order management system and checkout experience on the Fleet Feet website, allowing for more seamless deliveries of online purchases fulfilled from local Fleet Feet stores.
“The e-commerce flywheel created explosive online demand and growth last year,” Pointer said. “In addition to the enhancements we made to our order management system, we drove revenue through increased marketing efforts fueled by email and key digital advertising, and leveraged original content and an aggressive SEO strategy to drive brand awareness, in-store visits, and customer engagement.”
To support the continued growth and opportunity with the online customer experience, Fleet Feet promoted Ruth Wright to Senior Manager of Email Marketing, Evan Matsumoto to SEO Strategist, Zach Schneider to Fulfillment Operations Manager, and hired Sarah Moxham as Digital Copywriter.
Supply Chain Infrastructure
Fleet Feet significantly invested in enhancing its supply chain infrastructure over the past year, including moving from a 7,500-square-foot distribution center to a new 24,000-square-foot facility, and expanding from 15 to 23 full-time employees. Additionally, the company implemented a centralized buying and distribution system for footwear.
Fleet Feet promoted Jon Davis to Senior Director of Operations overseeing the continued expansion of the distribution center and e-commerce partnerships, Catherine Moloznik to Senior Director of Merchandising overseeing merchandising strategy and supporting retail operations and distribution, and Justin Garr to Senior Manager of Amazon and IT infrastructure overseeing fulfillment process functionality.
Fleet Feet opened five stores in 2020, bringing the total store count to 182 across 37 states and the District of Columbia. This year, Fleet Feet has already opened one new store in Gaithersburg, Md., with additional franchise locations slated to open in Madison, Ala., New Albany, Ohio and Carnes Crossroads, S.C., by June 30. Additional store openings are currently underway.
“We’re planning for continued growth through the expansion of our retail footprint with new and existing franchisees as well as exploring opportunities in new markets,” Pointer said.
To support store and market expansion, Fleet Feet promoted John Moloznik to Director of Business Development overseeing store growth and laying the framework for the next 100 stores under the Fleet Feet brand, and Carson Sasser to Controller continuing to develop and implement financial processes and procedures to support the strength and stability of the company.
Do the Run Thing™
As a part of its community-based social responsibility efforts, Fleet Feet strengthened its national charitable arm, Do the Run Thing™, as well as saw its stores continue to support local charities across the country. In the early days of the pandemic, Fleet Feet donated 20,000 pairs of socks to hospital workers in partnership with Feetures. The company also launched three new partnerships with Black Girls RUN!, Civil Rights Race Series and Latinos Run, donating a collective $25,000 to their organizations. Additionally, Fleet Feet raised $44,000 for Girls on the Run through a virtual run on Global Running Day, as well as made a $9,000 donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
“The national efforts reflect what continues to happen in our stores day in and day out, and that is grassroots support and partnerships with local charities and organizations that strengthen communities across the country,” said Pointer.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
Fleet Feet prioritized a transparent and focused approach in tackling the underrepresentation of the Black community within its system, from customers to employees to franchise owners. Outlined on its DEI page on FleetFeet online, Fleet Feet has prioritized two key pillars—people and partnership—and listed its 2021 commitments and accountability in making progress in both areas.
Additionally, Fleet Feet formed an internal Diversity Task Force to help drive success and accountability of all DEI initiatives; became a founding member of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, a newly formed coalition of running brands, running retailers, and runners representing Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) who are working together to increase diversity within the running industry; and joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Leadership & Looking Ahead
Over the past six months, Fleet Feet’s leadership team saw the promotion of Ellen Donahue to Vice President of Marketing, and more recently, the hiring of two new executives.
Erika Braun, Senior Director of Human Resources, brings more than 20 years of human resources experience to Fleet Feet. She oversees the development of Fleet Feet’s recruitment strategy and will manage payroll, benefits and compensation, among other responsibilities.
Tiffany Lee, Director of Marketing, helps develop and execute Fleet Feet’s overall brand strategy and national consumer efforts, and oversees a team of retail, social and digital marketers with a goal to drive customer acquisition, retention and loyalty.
With Fleet Feet’s upcoming 45th anniversary this year, Pointer says the leadership additions and 2020 accomplishments carry on the original mission set forth and inspired by the brand’s co-founders, Sally Edwards and Elizabeth Jansen.
“At its core, Fleet Feet was and is still about providing a welcoming place for the local community to find the inspiration, gear, and support they needed to achieve their goals,” said Pointer. “Sally and Elizabeth were both strong-willed leaders who worked relentlessly to deliver what customers needed, even with headwinds against them. I’m more confident now than ever that with our current owners, store employees, and Store Support Team members, we will continue that spirit in 2021 and keep the customer’s needs at the core of all we do.”
SOURCE Fleet Feet
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