In August, Chicago runners watched in agony as firefighters raced to save Second City and, in turn, funneled water into Fleet Feet’s flagship Old Town location. Only a few weeks ahead of the Chicago Marathon, the timing of the fire felt a bit like a taper nightmare. In an instant, Fleet Feet adjusted to meet runner’s needs in a way you’d never expect from a business in crisis.
Fast forward six months. A few weeks before spring officially begins, and also the unofficial start to Lakefront running season, Fleet Feet reopened. Like any good recovery, Fleet Feet’s recovery included cross-training (hosting fun events at other Fleet Feet locations), testing new gear (securing Under Armour as the new gear sponsor for the Soldier Field 10 Miler), and with both a massive and intimate celebration with runner friends when cleared to get back to usual.
I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the intimate version.
Dave Zimmer and his management team and staff brought together key vendors, charity partners, business partners, and some of their best customers to celebrate the night before the official grand reopening. It gave people a chance to see the new space, see new gear (hello spring colors!), and reconnect in the heart of the Chicago running community. Add in some delicious food from Adobo Grill (some of the best chips and guacamole I’ve encountered in Chicago) and drinks, including watermelon nuunaritas from Nuun, and you’ve got one heck of a party.
One of the best parts of the new space is the Bib Wall above the shoe displays.
It’s such a perfect way to describe what this store, this company, these people mean to the Chicago Running Community. The outpouring of support to Fleet Feet from runners was just a small way to repay the things they do for us. From hydration stations along the lakefront, to the hundreds of volunteers they bring to races year round, to creating opportunities for runners to learn, train, succeed. Fleet Feet Old Town is the heart of the Chicago running community.
And this weekend, the heart returned. Congratulations and welcome back!
Do you support a local running store?
Have you been to Fleet Feet Chicago?
Ever made a Nuunarita?