The past 18 months have been the most challenging yet rewarding of our lives.
When we brought our family to Wichita in March of 2015 our minds were filled both with uncertainty and excitement. For both Renine and I a dream came true that we never anticipated.
We met in college, brought together through running, and have been inseparable ever since. Fast forward 4 years, after we finished college, I started working part-time selling shoes at my local Fleet Feet Store in Tulsa Oklahoma. I knew immediately that this was going to be my future. Renine meanwhile began a career in social work, becoming a de-facto employee with the store. As the years passed Renine took on more and more responsibilities within the store and we made the decision we wanted to be owners one day. We were smitten.
While in Tulsa we welcomed both our kids, Azelle and John (JJ) into our family, and they were received as cheerleaders, mascots, but most importantly part of the family at store events immediately. A roll they still hold today.
The community that surrounded us was unforgettable, not only for the personalities and friends, but because of how they embraced us. Leaving this community was likely the most difficult part of our process. However, the embrace that we received from our new home, in Wichita, quickly eased all our doubts.
My experience with running retail started as a young runner in Ohio. I lived in a small rural town, and whenever I needed new shoes we took the trip to the “big city” to get the best products and service. Throughout high school and college I both excelled at running but also suffered from a number of injuries. The one constant in all of my experiences was being put in a silo, I was young, fit and fast. Never receiving questions about my training, injuries or concerns. Until I become a customer and eventual employee at Fleet Feet. This was what led me down the path to store ownership.
Renine’s path is slightly different. Born with a congenital foot deformity Renine has no toes on one foot. There have been times in her life she has been unable to walk let alone run. Despite her challenges, running has given her so many opportunities. Her fitness journey led her to track and cross country as a kid and an eventual opportunity to come to the United States from New Zealand to run in college. Renine’s experience with the transformative power of running, walking and fitness, and how much it can impact the lives of every single person are truly the fodder in our fire.
Fleet Feet Sports is a national franchise. The number one question we tend to get is “Why Fleet Feet?”
Our answer is simple; the true value in the brand is the community building. Fleet Feet allows us to build a strong local community based on inclusion and acceptance while at the same time allowing access to a vast network of likeminded individuals throughout our country. Couple this with access to the best products and the best possible staff training to ensure a great experience based on best practices.
We believe in this brand and its mission to provide access to fitness to everyone. Our store has six years of history. As we write this note, our commitment is to ensure this will remain true into the future. Yes our name has changed, but our guarantee to build community will only grow.
One Final Note of thanks to accepting us as Wichitans, and being part of this magical process.
Joel, Renine and Fleet Feet Wichita
PS: Please join us for an all day celebration Saturday October 29th at both our stores with great specials and gifts!