Today is ten years to the day that I've owned the FootZone. Tonight I got to share a drink with a bunch of kind folks who gathered to celebrate. I opened the FootZone for my old boss in 1995 and managed it for a few years before buying it in 1999. It had been a part of a small (8 stores) regional chain that was dissolving. When the purchase was done we became entirely independent with no ties to the other stores (a few others were sold off and a couple still exist in the Seattle area). The store really wasn't healthy, but I hoped that by becoming a better running store (not to mention paying our bills) we could make it work and pay off that fresh new SBA loan. Honestly, I was scared out of my head, but somehow managed to sign those loan papers.
Well, a decade later I'm happy to say we're healthy and happy, despite a whole new set of economic hurdles that you're all too aware of. I feel very fortunate for the timing and the opportunity to grow up with the running community in Central Oregon. As a person or two pointed out this evening, I bought this store when I was 27 and no one would have been surprised if it had been gone in a couple years. Lucky for Tami and I, that didn't happen. Instead, the FZ has been embraced by this community and worked hard to return the love. The ride continues to be humbling and a lot of fun. Thank you to the running community and all of Central Oregon for the opportunity. Thank you especially to all who work and have worked at the shop. Everyone knows that the energy at the FootZone comes from those who work there. I look forward to the decade ahead and appreciate the FZ more than ever. We'll keep showing up every day, having great shoes and gear, fitting your feet, and working to be a positive part of this community. Cheers-Teague