TRE 2014 Helps Stores Succeed and Manufacturers Gain Product Exposure
AUSTIN, Tex. (Dec. 11, 2014) – “Sell more stuff. Make more money.” That’s the elevator pitch for the ninth annual The Running Event® (TRE) held in Austin on Dec. 2 to 5, 2014. The conference and trade show played host to 872 retailer buyers from 24 countries, representing 368 unique ownership groups, up 12 percent from 2013, according to show organizers Formula4 Media, Great Neck, N.Y.
Retail buyers and sales associates traveled to the Austin Convention Center for educational seminars and previews by 310 exhibiting manufacturers of new products – from footwear, apparel and recovery rollers, to wearable fitness trackers, reflective garments, and blinking lights to enhance roadside safety.
In all, the show was attended by 2,676 running industry professionals, and was covered by 70 media (up 40 percent over the year before), representing both running and mainstream print, electronic, and social media outlets.
“The retail attendance numbers were particularly gratifying because it was a challenging year for run specialty. The fact that the stores turned out in such great numbers speaks to the vitality, resiliency and strength of the channel,” said Mark Sullivan, president of Formula4 Media.
“Suppliers to the running business report there’s no better way to reach this many prospects in 1-1/2 days.”
Mark Yardley, North American leader for Gore Running, adds, “Retailers come to Austin ready to learn, looking for new brands to add to their collections.”
Todd Andrews, president of tasc Performance, says, “We were busy the entire time with high quality accounts. We opened many new doors thanks to pre-event marketing that generated buzz for our bamboo performance technology.”
The Customer is in Control
Seminars repeatedly echoed the importance of customer service.
Parker Karnan of the Independent Running Retailer Association (IRRA), told store owners, buyers and associates, “The customer is an empowered buyer in control of the purchase thanks to the information age … today, consumers are in control.” Karnan says 70 percent of the time customers research footwear online, but only purchase online 10 percent of the time. “They understand the importance of receiving a proper fit and like to shop in stores.”
Jim Knight, a training and development veteran for 30 years, said store associates need to be “unapologetically authentic in their customer obsession … to deliver personalized running experiences.” He continued, “memorable experiences help justify the price you’re charging.”
Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor, said, “People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of their lives.” He advises sales associates to stop hiding behind the sales counter and get out on the floor to ask, “How can I make your run better?”
Retail trainer and consultant Jim Dion, adds, “Nobody needs to run, they need what running does for them.”
Said retailer Mort Nace of Medved Running & Walking Outfitters, Rochester, N.Y., “We came to Austin looking to meet with current vendors and keep an eye open for new products. We became energized by the breakout sessions and will share that energy with our staff back home.”
Celebrity runners Meb Keflezighi and Kara Goucher attended for Skechers and other brands they represent; Nick Symmonds was there for Brooks, Soleus and Run Gum, and competed in Austin’s famed Beer Mile; Bart Yasso was in the Runner’s World booth; and Hal Koerner made appearances for The North Face.
Awards Honor the Best of the Best
At the Running Specialty Hall of Fame breakfast on Dec. 3, presented by the Independent Running Retailer Association, the IRRA Shoe of the Year was the Hoka One One, while honors for the IRRA Vendor of the Year went to Brooks Sports, Seattle.
At the 50 Best Stores Awards dinner on Dec. 4, sponsored by Competitor, the results were announced based upon 16,000 consumer nominations and 140 store visits by mystery shoppers.
(To view the entire list of 50, log onto: http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/shoes-and-gear/columbus-running-company-named-top-shop-2014_119188)
Fleet Feet Roanoke won the Ubuntu Award presented by Balega Sports.
Fleet Feet Aptos won The North Face Never Stop Exploring Award. Nike’s Just Do It Award went to Luke’s Locker with 11 locations in Texas.
Canadian Store of the Year, presented by New Balance Canada, was shared by Lady Sport of Vancouver, and Boutique Courir of Montreal.
Store of the Year honors went to Columbus Running Company, Dublin, Ohio.
During the Indie 5K race in nearby Zilker Park on Dec. 4, approximately 400 retailers braved a light Texan mist. The Owners Club Award went to Amanda Goetschius of OK Runner in Edmond, Okla. (17.39), and Jimmy Wiggins of Classic City Running, Buford, Ga. (19.41).
The Supplier Award went to Stephen Piper (14.32) and Kristen Arendt (16.54) of Newton Running, Boulder, Colo.
The best Overall Male Winner – Retailer was Scott Smith of OK Runner (14.42), and Amber Andrews (17.30) of Runners Corner, Orem, Utah. The first place Team Award (top three finishers of each store), went to OK Runner with a combined time of 47.57.
How Did We Exist Without These?
Some of the more unusual products on display were: reflectivity spray you can apply directly to skin or clothing from Albedo 100 (albedo100us.com); Nathan launched a running-specific “hand torch” with an alarm (nathansports.com); Night Runner displayed LED lights for shoes (nightrunnergear.com); Spree has a fitness tracker that fits inside a SmartCap (spreewearables.com); X Racewear launched athletic apparel with race bib protective pockets (xracewear.com); Sensoria introduced Smart Socks which measure heel strikes (sensoriainc.com); Rogue River Sports displayed sweatproof car seat covers (seatshield.com); and Epic provided protein bar snacks made with bison (epicbar.com).
Show director Troy Leonard adds, “As we approach our 10th anniversary show in Austin, Dec. 1 to 4, 2015, we’re already discussing ideas to do it even better next time.”
The Running Event is one of the top 10 fastest growing trade shows in the country according to a 2013 analysis by Trade Show Executive magazine. This was the third consecutive year (2011, 2012, 2013) TRE made the list, the “Oscars” of the trade show industry.
Formula4 Media, based in Great Neck, N.Y., was established in 2005 and produces one other trade show, The Running & Fitness Event For Women, which will be held on Chicago’s Navy Pier on June 29 to July 1, 2015. The company also produces seven publications: Footwear Insight, Outdoor Insight, Running Insight, Sports Insight, Team Insight, Textile Insight, and Trend Insight.
Manufacturers interested in learning how to participate in TRE next year, Dec. 1 to 4, 2015, should contact Troy Leonard, show director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352 624 1561, (www.formula4media.com).
For information about The Running & Fitness Event for Women, June 29 to July 1, in Chicago, contact Beth Gordon, 949 293 1378, email@example.com.
For more information about The Running Event, log onto www.therunningevent.com. Information about the new Chicago show can be found at www.therunningandfitnesseventforwomen.com.
Editor’s note: For photos of TRE 2014 contact Jeff Blumenfeld, TRE director of communications, 203 655 1600, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source The Running Event