The Fleet Feet CEO has helped make the franchisor into one of the nation’s top running specialty chains.
The CEO of Fleet Feet, Incorporated, Tom Raynor, will be inducted into the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) Hall of Fame at a ceremony tomorrow, during the 47th Annual NSGA Management Conference. The NSGA has honored Sporting Goods leaders since 1956 but this year’s inductees bring the total number of Hall of Famers to only 150.
Said NSGA Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Bob Dickman, “We are proud to announce the Hall of Fame Class of 2011 because of the passion and dedication they brought to the sporting goods industry. Election to the Hall of Fame is the highest honor one can achieve in the sporting goods industry, and these inductees are worthy of that distinction.”
Raynor began his career in sporting goods as a sales associate with The Athlete’s House in Nashville, Tennessee. He was soon hired by a local sales agency that represented multiple vendors including Nike. His regular reports back to Nike, reflecting the changing market and opportunities for the expansion of running, were a factor in the creation of a national “tech rep” program, the first among major footwear manufacturers. The program, dubbed EKIN, was a magnet for young, enthusiastic, passionate runners, many of whom remain active in the sporting goods industry today.
After leaving Nike in 1983, Raynor went to Brooks Shoe Company where he held a variety of positions and was ultimately named Director of Marketing and Product Development. In 1989, Raynor joined Wilson Sporting Goods as General Manager of Footwear.
Raynor returned to running in 1992 with Fleet Feet, Incorporated, where he worked on store operations and new store development. The following year, Raynor purchased the franchise company and two stores including the original Fleet Feet Sports location in Sacramento from founder Sally Edwards.
Beginning with a staff of two in 1993, Fleet Feet, Incorporated has grown to 90 stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia. 2010 retail sales surpassed $100M for the first time in the company’s history. Same store sales have seen double digit increases annually for the past 10 years. In 2005, the company created an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Currently 40% of the company is employee owned.
Said Fleet Feet, Incorporated President and longtime friend of Raynor, Jeff Phillips, “It’s clear that the legacy Tom has built in Fleet Feet will long endure. His impact on the people, the sport and the business of running is hard to even estimate. He has had a hand in nearly every aspect of modern running retail: how we operate the business, how we service our customers, how we impact our communities, and how we work with our vendors. But Tom’s legacy will not be just Fleet Feet Sports. It will also be his passion for the sport, his vision, and the impact he’s had on so many people over the years.”