It's holiday time, lights on homes are going up, trees are being decorated, Hanukkah has begun and it's also gift giving time. As I write this I'm listening to one of my favorite composers, Aaron Copland and his orchestral Simple Gifts from Appalachian Spring. As I listen, it is with the greatest appreciation that we say the largest thank you possible to you for giving us a very special gift. Yes, it started with you. Last week, Fleet Feet Sports Rochester was recognized by Competitor Magazine at the National Running Event in Austin, TX as one of the Top 4 Running Stores in the United States. In 2014, we were a Top 50 store because of you, but this year you presented Fleet Feet Sports Rochester the opportunity to be a Top 4 Store. An honor and recognition we are so privileged to have.
You see, it started with you and your voting for Fleet Feet Sports Rochester. Once those votes were tabulated there was a series of other steps including a survey from the store, vendor feedback and various secret shopper experiences. In the end, Fleet Feet Sports Rochester was chosen to be in the Top 4.
Just 11 years ago, and you may have heard the story before, but no way would Boots nor I have ever dreamed this. It was our first year of business, our first holiday season and it was just Boots and I as husband and wife, and partners, near penniless, no staff as we had to let them go because we were dreadfully and stupidly under financed. Working open to close every day, eating late dinners at Mark's Diner on Monroe Ave (I didn't cook well then either) and repeat every day. It was during this time our will to fight for our business, for our dream grew. We were going to do everything possible to accomplish what we started. After that holiday season, we were able to hire staff, add more races, add training programs. We worked as best as we could under the mantra "work harder, not smarter". I promise you it has never gotten easy and the mantra still exists.
Today, Fleet Feet Sports sits at almost 70 employees between 3 stores (2 in Rochester and 1 in Buffalo) plus YellowJacket Racing that has 40 of its own events plus many others we provide services to. This staff is THE best. They know our story, our mission and our goal to help you achieve your goals. To help find you the right shoe, apparel, watch; to help you walk or run a 5K, a half marathon or even Sehgahunda; to cheer and photograph you or provide you recovery as you cross that finish line. This is their mission and more. We appreciate what they do for you and Fleet Feet Sports each and every day.
Well, Rochester, we thank you so much for this very "simple gift". We thank you for recognizing Fleet Feet Sports. We will not stop, we will not become complacent. We will keep striving to help you meet your goals. This recognition is as much yours as it is ours. Thank you for putting Rochester & Fleet Feet Sports on the running/walking map!
With greatest appreciation,
Boots & Ellen