50 Best Running Retailers in America—The Big 4

Luke’s Locker

9 locations in Texas | lukeslocker.com

Thirty-five years. That’s how long Luke’s Locker has been around. Don Lucas started running in the late 1960s and early 1970s at a time when it was hard to find running shoes. He tracked down shoes for himself and his buddies from a company called Blue Ribbon Sports up in the northwest that eventually became Nike. So many of his friends in the growing Dallas running community wanted shoes that Lucas eventually started selling them out of the trunk of his car. Lucas and his wife Sharon then opened up their first Luke’s Locker store, which was 4,500 square feet. With the help of their three sons—Matt, Andy and Mike—Luke’s Locker, the ultimate family business, has expanded to nine locations in Texas (Allen, Colleyville, Fort Worth, Houston, Katy, Plano, The Woodlands, Dallas and Austin).

Matt Lucas is the youngest of the boys and he remembers getting into running when he was about 5 years old. “I’ve pretty much run all my life,” says Matt. “Even when I got into basketball, running was still at the heart of everything I did.”

Matt admits that managing multiple locations is not easy. “We are very hands-on, and we still go to all of the stores as often as possible,” he says. “But with nine stores I just can’t be there all the time. I have to count on good people to be successful.”

The running marketplace has specialty retailers, big box retailers and online retailers. “People can buy shoes from just about anywhere,” says Matt. “There is more competition than ever before. We really consider ourselves more than just a running store.”

Luke’s Locker has training programs based out of their stores year-round. One of their employees came up with the idea of the 9-5 Program. Basically, it’s a nine-week program to complete your first 5K. “We pride ourselves on the fact that we train a lot of people who really didn’t know how to exercise,” says Matt.

Their half-marathon training program is 26 weeks long, and they have expanded beyond running to Pilates, yoga and cross-training. “We find that a healthy mix of fitness options is better for the body,” says Matt.

At the end of the day, though, for Luke’s Locker it’s all about taking care of the customer. “It’s important to us that everyone feels welcome at Luke’s Locker,” says Matt. “From the time they walk into the store until the time they walk out, that experience has to be great. We are very passionate about our customer experience as well as supporting our community.”

Speaking of community, consider the case of Chris Greene. He was overweight and signed up for a training program at Luke’s Locker. He made it through the training; fitness became a huge part of his lifestyle and the next thing he knew he was working for Luke’s Locker. “Chris now runs a half-marathon training program for us and is a great yoga instructor,” says Matt. “Those are the stories that I really enjoy.”

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