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Sharing the Love, Locally

Spotlighting small businesses and partners who mean the world to us!

By Karen Hendricks

From the beginning, Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg wanted to set a blistering track record—not necessarily on the track oval—but in terms of community outreach.

“When we founded Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg in 2015, one of the first things we set out to do was build relationships,” says Fred Joslyn, co-owner with his wife Shelby. “That’s because we knew we wanted an authentic, community-oriented business. We are truly locally-owned and operated—and we take pride in that.”

While there are many ways to measure small business “success,” one of the most valuable is in the relationships formed. 

Ultimately, Fleet Feet hopes the relationships built with treasured community partners ultimately benefits treasured customers—and vice versa!

Fleet Feet is honored to spotlight several incredible small businesses and organizations, to explain how we’ve dove-tailed our community impact together.

Describe how you’ve partnered with Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg:

The Harrisburg YMCA Races have partnered with Fred and Shelby since they first opened their store back in 2015. It is a great partnership—Fleet Feet has been and continues to be a big part of our race series. Fred and Shelby have entered our races personally (and won quite a few), volunteered, helped to find volunteers, and helped to enter participants from their training programs. We are very grateful for their partnership and the huge role they play in the local community. 

Tom Gifford, Race Series Director, East Shore YMCA, Harrisburg

There was great excitement when news broke of a Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg store coming! Girls on the Run Capital Area and Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg began working together locally even before Fleet Feet became a national partner with Girls on the Run International (GOTRI). 

Fleet Feet supports our SoleMates® who raise money for scholarships for local girls to participate in our afterschool programs, while they train for an athletic event. This year’s SoleMates are competing in the Harrisburg Marathon Relay and each team will raise $2,500. Fleet Feet provides deep discounts on their training programs as well as a store discount for our SoleMates. They host in-store events including our SoleMates kickoff celebration. They’ve had back to school events for our girls to get fitted for sneakers.

When Fred and Shelby approached Girls on the Run about being the beneficiary of the inaugural Lucky Charm 5K and 10K race we were so grateful! Funds raised through that event alone have provided over $7,000 in scholarships for local girls, and you will see Girls on the Run participants at the finish line, helping hand out the medals. Our girls complete their end of season 5K celebration with an adult running buddy, so the Fleet Feet Begin to Run program has helped several of our parents get in shape so they can cross the finish line with their girl! 

It means so much to Girls on the Run to have a partner supporting and joining our efforts to get our community mentally and physically healthy and to have fun while doing it!

Gillian Byerly, Council Director, Girls on the Run, Capital Area

We have been partnering on a couple different ventures. For instance, I do different workshops at their store: IT band, plantar fasciitis, pelvic floor dysfunction in runners, and a foam rolling clinic. 

We also collaborate on a running team. Our jerseys typically have Fleet Feet on the front and Pivot on the back, with me helping the team out with any injuries and the Joslyns helping us out with gear. 

Jointly, we are trying to improve the overall health and community of the running world in central Pennsylvania, with Fred and Shelby taking a major role in this endeavor and spearheading it. Prior to them coming into this area, the running community felt much different. Now, Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg is like a hub for Harrisburg running, whether it is through training, gear, or socialization.

Scott McGeary, Clinic Director/Physical Therapist, Pivot Physical Therapy, Mechanicsburg

Personally, my husband Conrad and I have been part of the Fleet Feet training groups for the last five years. We have made so many friendships, and we've remained consistent with our running and continue to improve.  

When we bought into our business, Chaka CrossFit, I knew immediately we had to partner up with Fred and Shelby. Fleet Feet and Chaka CrossFit collaborated to start "Run Strong," a program designed specifically to help runners run faster, safer, and stronger. It's been a huge success for our gym. 

We most recently partnered to hold the CrossFit workout named "Clovis," done in honor of First Lieutenant Clovis Ray who died in 2012 while leading his U.S. Army infantry platoon in Afghanistan. Partnering with Fleet Feet, Chaka CrossFit held an 8 week training program to help participants safely do the workout which consists of an accumulated 10-mile run and 150 burpee pull-ups. Fred's programming knowledge was key in getting both runners and crossfitters ready for this event. 

Julia Tolosa, Co-owner, Chaka CrossFit, New Cumberland

Can you comment on the power of partnering with other small businesses and organizations? How vital is it?

Being part of the Fleet Feet training groups for so many years, we saw first-hand how amazing Fred and Shelby were at running a business. The community they have built is remarkable: You go to the store and you feel like you're at home with your friends. This is what I wanted for our gym—I want people to feel welcomed, appreciated, and part of a community. Fred and Shelby really helped me form my worldview for our business. 

Julia Tolosa, Co-owner, Chaka CrossFit, New Cumberland

Partnering with Fleet Feet has been integral to my business, because it builds trust in the community. This trust, as well as the communication that we have with each other about clients (given permission), affords us an unprecedented level of success with treating and serving the running community. 

Scott McGeary, Clinic Director/Physical Therapist, Pivot Physical Therapy, Mechanicsburg

Local businesses (like Fleet Feet) provide much-needed financial and volunteer support, with groups coming out to our 5K events to host a cheer or water station, or a fun activity in our Friends and Family zone before the 5K. Some complete our coach training and join a team of girls. It is a powerful experience for them, knowing they had a direct part in giving a girl an opportunity to participate and helping them cross the finish line knowing their power and strength.

Gillian Byerly, Council Director, Girls on the Run, Capital Area

What is a standout memory of a time when Fred or Shelby impacted your business?

Probably the 2015 Harrisburg Marathon when Fred and Shelby both won the race. That was the first year we debuted the new course and Fleet Feet also had a lot of people come out and volunteer, so that was a great example of how we all worked together to make that race happen. Having both of them win the race was definitely a great memory and made a lot of people in the local running community proud. 

Tom Gifford, Race Series Director, East Shore YMCA, Harrisburg

Overall, what does Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg contribute to the Harrisburg area?

When I think of Fleet Feet, I think of the heart and soul of the Harrisburg running community. From the races that Fred puts on, the consulting with other races locally, the running clubs they lead, to being pioneers in the gear and footwear industry—all of these things together make them a pillar of the running community.

Scott McGeary, Clinic Director/Physical Therapist, Pivot Physical Therapy, Mechanicsburg

Fleet Feet has a presence at so many of the local races and events—they are always giving back to the community and are always generous with their time and energy. They are a friendly and supportive “on ramp” for those just starting to run, or getting back into it after an extended break, as well sharing their expertise and experience training and competing at the very highest level. 

Our community is healthier, more connected and inspired thanks to them.

Girls on the Run feels extremely proud and grateful to have a community partner in Fleet Feet. I hope they know what a huge difference they have made in the lives of our girls.

Gillian Byerly, Council Director, Girls on the Run, Capital Area

I don't know of a business that has more of an impact as far as building community. The friendships that have formed because of their leadership are countless. I'm honored to know them and thankful for how they've changed my life in such a positive way.

Julia Tolosa, Co-owner, Chaka CrossFit, New Cumberland

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