SCHERERVILLE | It's hard to be modest, especially when attaining a Top 50 ranking for the second year in a row.
But somehow Dave Eenigenburg manages to pull it off.
"It's humbling," said Fleet Feet Sports (Schererville) owner Eenigenburg about his store again being recognized as one of the Top 50 Best Running Stores in America by two leading trade and consumer publications: Running Insight and Competitor Magazine.
Eenigenburg traveled to Austin, Tex., this week to accept the award at The Running Event, an annual conference and trade expo for specialty running retailers.
"It's not a vacation; more like a business trip," Eenigenburg said before heading down south. "The dinner and awards ceremony will be nice, but it's more of a way to keep up with what's going on in the world of running and fitness."
Prospective stores were rated on their product knowledge, merchandising, and customer and community service. The vetting process began at the beginning of the year when Competitor Magazine and Formula 4 Media, which publishes Running Insight, began to collect and evaluate nominations from runners, and solicited customer feedback.
When a list of more than 150 stores was compiled, a panel of industry experts "mystery shopped" at the stores to further the grading process.
"Of course, we had no idea who these shoppers were," Fleet Feet store manager Jen Ryman said. "We just try to be most helpful to anyone who comes in here.
"Every year we help create more and more runners, and help raise fitness awareness. We have the support team and the resources."
Location helps, too, with a bike/running/walking trail located behind the Fleet Feet's building.
"It wasn't there when we first opened (in 2008)," said Misty Chandos of the Pennsy Greenway trail, which she utilizes for an array of beginner running programs she organizes as the director of training and event coordinator at Fleet Feet. "It has made things a lot more convenient and safer."