Winter will bring a special gift to the city’s north side with the opening of a new Fleet Feet Sports in Lakeview. The running store confirmed reports that it will open its fourth city location and provided further details on what the new store would provide.
Located on the corner of Southport and Roscoe in the Southport Corridor section of Lakeview, the new store is just steps from the Brown Line. Crain’s Business Chicago first broke the story Thursday when the owner of the location announced Fleet Feet would move into the former Starbucks storefront.
“Good news travels fast — and so does Fleet Feet Sports — Chicago,” owner and CEO of Fleet Feet Sports Chicago Dave Zimmer said, confirming the Crain’s story. “We’re already getting a really positive response on social media about this and the ink is barely dry on the lease!”
Zimmer and Fleet Feet Sports Chicago general manager John Moloznick both said the opening date is fluid, but it should be expected sometime in the late fall or early winter of 2014. Moloznick said that they had been looking at the location for some time and had fallen in love with the storefront at 3359 N. Southport. While smaller than other locations, the new location will have a basement that Moloznick said will be used for storage to provide optimal usage out of the available space.
One of the reasons the neighborhood was so appealing was the growing number of shoppers that already travel up and down that section of Southport, Moloznick said. The store has made numerous decisions to put itself in the middle of popular shopping areas over the last few years. Both of its last two moves, changing locations in Lincoln Square and opening a new store in the Roosevelt Collection in the South Loop, have been with the goal of locating near common foot traffic.
Fleet Feet will not be the first athletic apparel store in the area, with a number of stores just a block or two away. However, Moloznick said that this was one of the draws of the location, adding that the other stores prove that there is a large population of people in the area who would benefit by all that Fleet Feet would bring.
Those benefits would include all of the community involvement that has become expected from the other Fleet Feet stores. Moloznick said they have already been in talks with current partners like Accelerated Rehab and beginning relationships with a number of bars and restaurants in the area. There are also a number of theatres within just a few blocks that could be used similar to Second City at the Piper’s Alley location. They have already begun to feature the area in fun runs and plan a historical fun run through the neighborhood.
“We just really liked the area a lot. It fit very well with our client base and the kind of stores we like to associate ourselves with,” Moloznick said. “The shopping, the energy is exactly what Fleet Feet is all about. We want to add to the community with a resource we felt was unavailable.”
As soon as the news broke Moloznick said they started sending people to the new location and engaging in social media. As the open date grows nearer he said their presence will only be stepped up. An exact date was not available but it is expected to be within just a few months.
“At Fleet Feet, we pride ourselves in being more than just a place of commerce,” Zimmer’s email said. “We like to become woven into the community through our extensive range of educational/training programs, weekly free fun runs, races, fund-raising and social events. The Southport area is vital and conducive to all of that. There are easily accessible routes for running and there are entertainment venues for post-event social hours — two more criteria that make our stores in Piper’s Alley, Lincoln Square, The Roosevelt Collection and Elmhurst such popular specialty retail sites.”