Like any good businesswomen, Ellen Griffin listens to her customers.
Griffin and her husband, Ed, are co-owners of Fleet Feet Sports, on Bridge Street. For the past few years, the store’s clientele has been clamoring for the Griffins to open a location in the northern suburbs. On Nov. 1, the Griffins finally granted their wish by opening a new Fleet Feet store in the Marketfair North Plaza, on Route 31.
Ellen Griffin was reluctant to expand but became convinced the 13-year-old franchise can better serve its strong customer base in and around Clay. In 2012, the store, which specializes in running shoes and athletic apparel, was named Running Store of the Year by Formula 4 Media. That same year, it was named small business of the year by CenterState CEO.
“It’s hard to have two locations and maintain your culture,” Ellen Griffin says. “But our managers were convinced we can have the exact same level of service and store culture here that we do at the Bridge Street store. This is a lot more convenient for customers. They’ve been asking for it.”
3 Dots Design began work on the 5,000-square foot Fleet Feet in Clay in August. The same company designed the 10,000-square foot Bridge Street location in 2010. The Clay store’s grand opening weekend featured a store gift card giveaway to the first 100 customers and a fun run.
“We are excited,” Griffin said. “I know people are going to be appreciative.”
Liz Knickerbocker, Fleet Feet’s marketing manager, says expanding to the northern suburbs made good business sense.
“We looked at our customer base,” Knickerbocker says. “Liverpool and Baldwinsville is a growing market and has been for many years. But we also are growing in the Oswego, Fulton and Watertown areas. It gives us a chance to serve all those customers who think Bridge Street is a little too far of a drive.”
The Syracuse Fleet Feet franchise debuted in 2000 with a modest storefront on Erie Boulevard before relocating to Bridge Street in 2010. The Clay location is modeled after the Bridge Street store with one slight difference: The new store features male and female sections for running shoes and apparel.
“Our customer base is 50-50 of runners and non-runners,” Knickerbocker says. “We also fit a lot of people who need good walking shoes or their doctor has sent them in. We have so many customers from Oswego and Watertown. I’m so excited to see how this grows.”