It’s been 12 years since Blaine Lewis came to his wife with the idea to open their own Fleet Feet Sports store. He had been working at a Fleet Feet franchise outside of Chapel Hill in North Carolina, and decided he wanted open his own store.
But it took a while for him to convince his wife, Robin Lewis, that they should uproot and move to a city where Fleet Feet wasn’t established.
He eventually persuaded her, and this weekend the store is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
“We’ve done more than we ever thought we could,” Robin Lewis said.
The Roanoke store was the first Fleet Feet franchise to open in a city as small as Roanoke, Lewis said. Their success in Roanoke has encouraged other Fleet Feet franchisees to open in smaller cities as well, she said.
The couple opened the store at Townside Festival on Franklin Road in Roanoke. They expanded in that space after four years, and last year bought the former Play It Again Sports building on U.S. 220 in front of Lowe’s. (Play It Again moved to a shopping plaza just south of Tanglewood Mall).
Lewis said the move has made the store more visible, and in turn has increased sales.
Six years ago the store began holding training programs, such as No Boundaries, a 5K training program. About 160 people signed up for the program last fall, Lewis said.
“The whole goal is to get people active and healthy,” she said.
The store recently introduced a new program, Walk Fit.
The business also helps customers who need help finding comfortable shoes. Employees are trained to take foot measurements, including arch measurements, to find the shoe with the right type of support. Lewis said they even get medical referrals for over-the-counter orthotics.
“Our mission is to be here for everyone, not just for runners,” Lewis said. “We service everyone’s feet.”
Lewis attributed the store’s success to help from the franchise and its relationship with their vendors, but most of all to the customers.
“We wouldn’t still be here if we didn’t have loyal, faithful customers supporting local businesses,” she said. “That’s a big deal to us, and we appreciate our customers for that.”
To celebrate the store’s 10th anniversary, customers who spend $50 or more on Friday or Saturday will be entered in a raffle for several items, including a GPS watch, shoes and clothes. In addition, Balega socks will be on sale – buy three pairs and get one free. And, customers who spend $50 or more on regular priced clothes will receive $10 off their purchase, and those who spend $100 or more will receive $20 off.
The store is open Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.