A locally owned franchise aiming to become a hub for the Southwest Florida running and walking community took a big step toward achieving that goal by buying out one of its competitors.
Fleet Feet Fort Myers, 13499 S. Cleveland Ave. in Bell Tower shopping center, announced it acquired Run Florida on McGregor. That store will close permanently at the end of the day Wednesday, with its two remaining employees and inventory moving over to Fleet Feet effective Friday.
“We’re here to try to become the community hub for health, fitness, running, walking,” said Brian Urichko, who co-owns Fleet Feet with his wife, Janene. “By bringing Run Florida onto our side of the street, per se, we hope that we can bring everybody together and be one big happy community.”
Janene Urichko said she, too, was thrilled with the acquisition. Run Florida on McGregor has its roots with its previous name, On the Run, which goes back almost 30 years as one of the region’s most popular running specialty stores.
“Run Florida on McGregor is going to be a great partnership,” Janene Urichko said, with former owner John Rinkenbaugh coming on board, “because he brings such knowledge and such a community of runners. Our goal is to bring all of the runners in Fort Myers together.
“If we can just get people moving, that’s really our main goal.”
At Fleet Feet, the staff gets people moving better, the Urichkos said, by having customers scan their feet to get a better recommended shoe fit. The store leases the $8,000 Volumental foot scanning machine, where getting scanned takes less than a minute and yields near-immediate results of footwear recommendations of shoes in stock at the store.
“We do a personalized 3D scanning technology that allows us to find the perfect shape and size of each person’s feet,” Brian Urichko said. “And we line that up with the best shoes for them.”
Sometimes, what the customer thinks and what the machine decides are two different things, he said.
“We like to make sure our customers get the shoe that they love,” Urichko said. “However, when they come in with that preconceived notion that the Hoka is the best shoe for me, we want to make sure that they get to try on the Hoka. But the scan might tell us that a better fit for that person is a different brand or a different model of shoe.”
Fleet Feet sells about a dozen different brands of shoes, with Hoka, Saucony, Asics, Brooks, New Balance and Karhu among the bestsellers. Shoe prices range from $130 to $170. The store is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.