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A Note to the Cincinnati Running Community

Dear Cincinnati Running Community,

 

Much like a house becomes a home when a family makes it their own, a shoe is just a shoe until someone steps into it. And for nearly 42 years the O’Bryonville location has been the place for a simple pair of shoes to transform into something much more in Cincinnati.

 

From its beginnings as the original location of Bob Roncker’s Running Spot in 1981 to its co-branded New Balance Store days in the 90’s and through Jack Rabbit and now Fleet Feet, 1993 Madison Road has been a runner’s home base, a clubhouse, for so many for so very long. Far beyond a simple special retail store, the O’Bryonville location has served as a community meeting place, a place for celebration, a pre-run meet up, a venue for countless informational, educational and entertainment sessions, and for packet pickups of all sizes including the cities largest every November and so much more. And that is not even to mention the upstairs one-of-a-kind shoe museum that has been admired by so many. Yet, to some, it was a humble shoe store who day-in and day-out served the needs of the Cincinnati running community for years on end. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine the number of meaningful experiences that were hard within those 11,000 square feet.

 

As life and business go, all things must come to an end and in this case, after a 42 year long run the O’Bryonville store location will open its doors for the final time on Wednesday, May 31st before transitioning its business to Oakley, Newport and our other five locations. It’s likely impossible for most of you reading this to imagine how difficult this decision was for Stacey and I to make. But the reality of business is that the right decision often stares you in the face even when you try to look away. We have an obligation to ourselves and our team and our customers to operate Fleet Feet Cincinnati in the most efficient and responsible way so that it can continue to serve the community for many years to come. And the truth is we are no longer able to do that in O’Bryonville.

 

That said, as one chapter ends, we are filled with optimism for the future of Fleet Feet Cincinnati and its seven locations. The business is financially healthy, our growth is consistent, and our operational efficiency improves every month. We owe this success to each of you and we know it will only get better and that is why we believe in our hearts that the closing of O’Bryonville is the right decision despite the emotions that surround it.

 

We are proud to announce that all employees of Fleet Feet O’Bryonville will remain on our team and we will work with each of them to find a new home store location. We are very excited about what we think will be a significant growth period for our Oakley and Newport Stores and we fully intend to continue serving Cincinnati in all locations with best in class social experiences and personalized product solutions.

 

Finally, I would like to acknowledge one team member who has been in that store and others longer than anyone. From his time with Bob, through Jack Rabbit and now as the Store Manager of O’Bryonville, Brett Rubin has never wavered in his support for the business and has been remarkably consistent in his willingness to do what was best for business and even more so, the customer. I personally look forward to many more years of working together with Brett but I know he of all people will miss the O’Bryonville location.

 

If you have any further questions or concerns I urge you to reach out to me directly. I am happy to speak to anyone on this matter and provide more context if appropriate. Stacey and I love this city, we love each of you and we love Fleet Feet Cincinnati. We hope you all can see this in our everyday actions and while today’s action is a tough one, it’s made out of love.

Sincerely,

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JOIN US FOR A RUN TO REMEMBER

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Let's celebrate everything the O'Bryonville store meant to the community with one last run and celebration out of the store on Thursday, May 25th at 6pm. We'll toast Bob & Mary-Ann Roncker, share old memories and give the oldest running store in Cincinnati a proper send off. Join us for the run or come hang out with all our old friends. 

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