Looking Back at 2018
In addition to bringing you the very best, highly-curated running products on the market at the best prices (Club FITniche) with the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff, we also did some things in and for our communities that we were proud of last year. Here’s a snapshot of what your commitment to shopping locally with FITniche helped us do in 2018.
- We purchased and donated two high-end running wheelchairs, at a cost of over $5000. One chair went to Ainsley’s Angels, a group dedicated to pairing able-bodied runners with disabled people in our communities, so that they can experience the joy and thrill of running in local races. We donated the second chair to a beautiful family in the Lakeland area, so that the mother could run with her young daughter (who will likely not run on her own ever) any day of the week the two of them want.
- We welcomed over a dozen new “bright lights” to our team in 2018. We love being able to provide employment for our exceptional staff. They really do rock, and it’s a privilege to be able to be able to work with such genuinely good people!
- We purchased two new drinking fountains for the Flatwoods park in the north Tampa area, with the help of funds raised at the Wiregrass Wobble Turkey Trot. One has already been installed at the Bruce B Downs entrance. The other will be installed soon at the Fletcher entrance, as will signs noting FITniche’s contribution. The old fountains kept breaking down and did not have bottle fillers for the cyclists. The park could not afford new fountains with bottle fillers, so FITniche stepped up committed $3500 apiece for the fountains.
- FITniche also continues to maintain 30 gallons of filtered, ice-water at Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland for the 2,000+ people a day who walk and run that path.
- In 2018 we learned that Polk County Schools have a higher number of homeless students than you could ever imagine, and we donated 300-400 pair of returned, lightly used shoes to a group servicing them. In years past, we partnered with our vendors to make those donations to Special Olympics athletes, and we will do so again in 2019.
- FITniche also quietly and anonymously provided a number of shoes and other products to deserving people and athletes whose financial situations would have made new shoe purchases difficult, if not impossible.
- Finally, we won the prestigious recognition of being one of the Top Four Stores in America from an industry group (the IRA) that represents over 1,000 running specialty retailers across the country. That award was based on secret shopper scores, community involvement and vendor relationships. You and our amazing staff carried us entirely on that one! (You can help nominate us again this year here!)
Thank you for shopping with us and helping us continue to be a thriving and fiercely independent local business!
Wishing each of you many happy miles!
Rich and the entire FITniche Crew