As Fleet Feet Sports Franchise owners, we look forward to our annual Summer conference. It is a great way for us to decompress from the daily life of a busy retail store while it also provides us a week of time with like minded people from other Fleet Feet stores around the country. Best of all, we are able to bring a few staff members as well as our two boys to enjoy all of this with us.
Our conferences are a great form of continuing education as well as a time for us to share stories about our guests that achieve amazing results in their fitness and health, put running or walking back into their lifestyle or become a runner and complete their first 5k. Also, many of the stories include amazing challenges and obstacles our guests overcome to “Change Everything” in their lives. We always seem to come back from our conference with such a feeling of satisfaction that we are able to be a part of this group of owners and the guests we all enjoy.
This year our first day began with Inov-8 providing a beach side cross-fit challenge and games. This was the first time for many of us to join in on cross-fit, so it was a great learning experience and competition for all that joined in. Day two Nike stepped up for an evening run. This allowed us to test a beta version of the new Nike+ app. Nike provided each of us with a pair of the Nike Pegasus 30th anniversary model running shoes and a Nike Tech tee for the experience. We finished at a location a few miles from the resort at a hotel where we were spoiled to a huge party with drinks, food, music, dancing and more. Day three Saucony stepped in with a Race to Kinvara party at a local Irish Pub.
Although we have a lot of fun at conference and enjoy spending time with all the other Fleet Feet owners and staff members, this is not all we do at the conference. We are lucky to have over 70 of the top brands in our industry join us to debut new products, show us the latest and greatest and join us in celebrating another year of business together. Our vendors are a great part of our conferences. They plan events for us, educate us and send us home with ideas and products for our stores. After two days of Fleet Feet Inc hosting educational seminars for all of us, day three begins with our vendor trade show. All of the great brands we carry in the store set up the latest product lines for us to see and place orders for so that we can bring the best of the best to you. Each one of them invests a great deal of effort, time and dollars to be a part of this conference and as owners, we appreciate all they do and the time they sacrifice to be with us. There are some awesome new and exciting products out and to come. Highlights of what Fleet Feet Orlando will share with you include but are not limited to:Hoka One One, Altra, Addaday massage and therapy, Bonk Breaker Bars, Fluid Hydration, New Honey Stinger Bars and more. Highlight of the day! Fleet Feet Orlando for the 3rd year in a row, was awarded the Golden Stool award from Superfeet. This is an award for highest and best in customer education, sales and partnership with the brand. Thank you SUPERFEET!
The trade shows ends on day 4 of our conference. We then have a small span of time to hit the pools, spas and the beaches to unwind before our incredible Awards Banquet with over 500 attendees.
Our Awards Banquet is a great night of celebrating the best things each one of our stores does in our communities and with all our guests. Grants are provided by some of our vendor partners of up to $5,000 for the chosen store to use to help fund exciting outreach programs in their communities. We here at Fleet Feet Orlando were blessed with a grant from Saucony in 2010 for our Starting Line Youth Fitness and Running program.
This has helped us to fund our school programs for the past couple years. The stores that received the grants this year also included other School running programs, shoes and fittings for the homeless, a six legged run to support a local animal shelter and an incredible story in Nashville of fundraising efforts for runners with prostetic limbs like running blades. It turns out that insurance does not cover a running blade for an athlete to continue their healthy path and passion to run. Fleet Feet Nashville took it upon themselves to help this cause and push fundraising through group runs and races to a national organization. How cool is all this?
We also celebrated a scholarship program awarded to Fleet Feet Sports employees that are still focused on their school and education career paths while employed at our stores. We are proud to announce that our own Chris Trinidad was one of the recipients of a scholarship award. Congratulations to Chris!
At the end of the banquet we celebrate with each other over our favorite beverages and share our stories and thoughts about the future of our industry and our sport. We hug each other until next year when we gather in St Louis in Summer 2014. We are so lucky to be a part of something bigger than just our store. We are but one of a great family of store owners living the dream and sharing our dream with all of you that choose to shop with us. Your support for our local business means that we can be a part of a great conference like this and also share ideas with all the vendors you love.
We understand you have many places to buy all your gear and we truly do appreciate you supporting us. Please know we are here to serve you and your needs in running and walking. We want to be the place you go to inspire or be inspired; to learn and to grow; to share your stories and to improve your health – the health of your families, your friends, our children and the communities we serve.