Fleet Feet's Dave Zimmer on Being a Community-Minded Franchisee

Maybe you feel inspired by Sunday’s Chicago marathon -- or NBC Chicago’s incredible coverage of said event -- and you have running on the brain. Maybe it’s got you thinking about running a sporting goods store or a running goods store. After all, the Chicago Marathon, according to the Chicago Marathon, is the city’s biggest tourism every year, and that means a lot of business year-round for everyone who’s training and anyone who blows into town woefully under-prepared.

But just franchising a Foot Locker doesn’t really cut it. Or, it shouldn’t, if you’re serious about making an impact and also a name for yourself in the business. Someone who’s opinion is worth seeking out and listening to is Dave Zimmer’s -- he’s the owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago, and has held that title for the last 16 years. He’s endeavored -- and succeeding -- at making a mark both locally among his customers and nationally among the other franchisees by being the largest grossing franchise in the company since 2000. (He opened up here in 1996.)

There’s a lot of reasons why, and I stopped by his store in Old Town to hear them in his own words. Heed!

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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