By Don Pickard, Pickard & Pickard Inc. REALTORS
“Get fit, Have fun!” is the FITniche motto, and customers who shop at Lakeland’s premiere full service fitness shoe and apparel retailer are doing just that!
Located at Lakeside Village, the FITniche concept was created, and is owned and operated, by Rich Wills. FITniche has been rated as one of the Best Running Stores in America four years in a row and was rated in the top four nationwide in 2009.
Helping you find the proper shoes and fit is a primary goal at FITniche. The staff is informed and genuinely helpful, sharing their superior product knowledge. The process starts with employee training that allows them to analyze a customer’s gait to determine the correct shoes for that individual’s biomechanics. This is accomplished by the customer walking or running on a treadmill, video taping the gait, and then playing the recording back in slow motion to determine the person’s unique gait characteristics. The results focus the customer on shoes that have the proper attributes for his or her gait.
Additionally, a pressure mapping of each foot determines arch structure and pressure distribution across the surface of the feet. Employees are also trained to help customers find the proper fit in sports bras and other critical fitness equipment and attire, as well as providing encouragement and advice on training and technique.
Rich enjoys hearing from customers who are appreciative of their shopping experience at FITniche. Many customers highly praise and credit the gait-fitting analysis for the relief of chronic, painful conditions. “It’s not a silver bullet for any pre-existing medical condition,” Rich is quick to add. “But it often makes a noticeable difference.”
While it is important to stay active, Rich is also active in the community. FITniche facilitates numerous charity and nonprofit organization runs, and they furnish the logistical support and liability insurance for running events. Rich also is involved in Special Olympics as a coach, and the store provides shoes for athletes from their inventory of returns. In addition, FITniche maintains a water station at the Lake Hollingsworth parking lot, and is leading an effort to find the right way to bring public restroom facilities to the Lake Hollingsworth area.
We congratulate FITniche as our Small Business of the Month Award Winner for February.
1421 Town Center Dr | Lakeland, FL 33803