Fleet Feet announced significant growth in 2020 as it added five stores to close with 182 and saw triple-digit growth of its e-commerce site. The franchisor also hired a head of human resources and marketing and made several promotions to support future growth.
Other annual announcements included incorporating dynamic pressure mapping technology into its in-store outfitting process, the addition of three charitable partners under the brand’s national philanthropic arm, Do the Run Thing, the expansion of its distribution center, and bolstering its Store Support Team for 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.”
A major focus of Fleet Feet’s customer service innovation included launching appointment scheduling and queue management software. This especially timely development allowed stores to adhere to local ordinances and social distancing guidelines while serving customers through the pandemic. The company also launched virtual fittings within 48 hours of an almost complete shutdown of systemwide in-store retail operations.
Fleet Feet 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. Fleet Feet can offer individualized footwear solutions from biometric data captured from customers in-store.
Promotions in its Retail Operations department included Matt Werder to Senior Director of Retail Operations; Alex Tallman to Senior Manager, Retail Experience; and Amy Rihel to Retail Trainer.
Fleet Feet’s digital business grew 200 percent in 2020, buoyed by shifting consumer shopping trends and infrastructure updates. Its digital team introduced an order management system and checkout experience on FleetFeet.com to deliver 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 its supply chain infrastructure, including moving from a 7,500-square-foot distribution center to a 24,000-square-foot facility, expanding from 15 to 23 full-time employees. The company also implemented a centralized buying and distribution system for footwear.
Fleet Feet promoted Jon Davis to Senior Director of Operations, Catherine Moloznik to Senior Director of Merchandising and Justin Garr to Senior Manager of Amazon and IT.
Fleet Feet opened five stores in 2020, bringing the total store count to 182 across 37 states and the District of Columbia. In 2021, Fleet Feet has opened one new store in Gaithersburg, MD, with additional franchise locations scheduled to open in Madison, AL, New Albany, OH and Carnes Crossroads, SC by June 30.
“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 and Carson Sasser to Controller.
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™, and its stores continue to support local charities across the U.S. 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 $25,000 to the organizations. Fleet Feet also raised $44,000 for Girls on the Run through a virtual run and donated $9,000 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
Outlined on its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) page on FleetFeet.com, Fleet Feet has prioritized two people and partnership and lists its 2021 commitments and accountability. Fleet Feet formed an internal Diversity Task Force as part of its DEI initiatives, became a founding member of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition and joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.
Leadership & Looking Ahead
Over the past six months, Fleet Feet’s leadership team saw Ellen Donahue’s promotion to Vice President of Marketing and hired two new executives with Erika Braun, senior director, Human Resources and Marketing Director Tiffany Lee.
With Fleet Feet’s upcoming 45th anniversary this year, Pointer said the leadership additions and 2020 accomplishments carry on the original mission of 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.”