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Gazelle Sports

  • Chaco brings shoemaking to the mitten

    If there's one thing that is a sure-sign summer has found it's way to Michigan, it's when the boots get put away and the sandals come out.

    For me, those sandals are my myriad pair of Chacos. High in the arch, completely customizable to my feet and up for anything from taking our new puppy for a walk through the neighborhood to hiking in Manistee National Forest, there's a ton of reasons these are my go-to summer footwear.

    One of the reasons that I tend to forget about as my feet glory in the Chaco-goodness is that Chaco may have their roots in Colorado, but they're making (and re-making) sandals right here in Michigan.

    Below is a story about just this from Footwear Plus Magazine. It helped remind me that when I buy another pair of Chaco's (because there's bound to be a new design I just have to have), I'm supporting a company creating jobs right here in Michigan.

    Enjoy! And come see us at Gazelle Sports to get your own pair!

    Chaco Story

    IF YOU LIKE beer, perhaps you’ve heard of Grand Rapids, MI, a.k.a. “Beer City, USA.” With multiple breweries dotting the charming town, the local community is awash in the fermented favorite. But Grand Rapids is home to more than just tasty brews—a mere 10 miles away in the suburb of Rockford lies the headquarters of Wolverine Worldwide and its Chaco sandals and accessories factory.

    Chaco, born in Colorado in 1989, began by making sandals stateside before transferring production overseas in 2008. When Wolverine purchased the brand in 2009, it brought part of its manufacturing back to the U.S., beginning in 2012 with the introduction of MyChacos (customized) and the continuation of ReChaco (repaired) sandals along with capsule collections and accessories. Since the inception of the MyChacos designyour- own program (with over a trillion combinations to choose from!), tens of thousands of custom sandals have been made in Michigan. In addition, many thousands more have been repaired with the ReChaco renewal program, which launched more than 10 years ago.

    “We wanted to give consumers a choice in where their products were produced,” says Colin Butts, director of marketing. “Having a local factory opens up a lot of interesting opportunities for the brand, from rapid prototyping to personalization to accessory creation to limited-edition products.” Logistically speaking, producing in Michigan allows for shorter lead times, local material sourcing and lightening the carbon footprint related to manufacturing and shipping. And, let’s not forget the U.S. job-generating aspect.

    Currently, the Chaco factory employs 25 full-time workers and 20 temps, all performing skills ranging from sewing to buffing to trimming to lacing. And customers, despite paying a 25 percent premium, are responding positively to the made-in-the-U.S.A. goods. In fact, the Rockford factory is set to expand for the second time in March. “The Michigan-based team has picked up the torch and run the brand further than ever before into accessories for pets and people and into customizable products,” Butts says. He hints at additional customization opportunities to come in the future, too.

    Butts attributes the success of the MyChacos and ReChaco programs, in large part, to their Rockford workforce. He cites the Midwestern labor traits of being dedicated and hard-working as special. “It’s the people here that make the difference,” he says, noting such attributes are worth funding long-term. “The brand will keep investing in ways to make domestic production possible and exciting for our community,” he adds.

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  • Ted K. Talk - Weighing in on the Latest Running Trends

    Ted Kushion, our Running Footwear Merchandise Manger, weighs in on the latest running footwear trends:

    Dear Fellow Runners and Running Shoe Enthusiasts,

    One of the scariest things for a running shoe company’s designers is taking something they’ve built a huge following around and having to take a leap of faith on a new innovation. Every shoe vendor does its due diligence to ensure that the past 18 months of research, design, testing, re-designing and re-testing pays off. Then, it is hoped that the day the shoes hit stores’ stockrooms the sales staff will try them on and say… “WHOA!” That’s when you know you have a winner.

    In 2015 – and as we begin 2016 – many of the “whoa” technologies appear on franchise models. The New Balance 1080 added a Fresh Foam midsole, the Saucony Guide 9 added EVERUN midsole technology, Nike went to a Flyknit upper on the Lunarglide 7, and Adidas transitioned to exclusively using Boost on its premium running shoes.

    So what’s next? Everyone is racing to keep up with technology. The ability to get more information to and from runners is critical for running shoe companies trying to react to their customers’ changing wants and needs.

    Nike continues to build on its Nike+ technology with over 28 million runners using Nike’s “social running” platform. Under Armour, a brand I expect to be making a big splash in high-end running shoes, purchased MapMyRun this past year. While it’s a nice, convenient marketing platform, the main reason for the purchase was to acquire data from the company’s millions of users. This March, the Baltimore-based company will launch a shoe that captures data from your run and allows you to upload it to the MapMyRun app.

    Even running shoe newcomer, Altra, is entering the “smart shoe” game. Altra is just now introducing its new shoe, the IQ, which gives runners real-time audio and visual feedback on their running form via a phone app. This fall, Adidas has a very similar product represented in the next generation of its miCoach app.

    Will these “smart shoes” be the future of running footwear? All signs point that way, but we’ll know more in a year when we see if the brands are willing to apply these technologies to their “bread and butter” running shoes. Either way, Gazelle Sports’ staff is working tirelessly to understand and embrace these exciting new innovations so they can continue to deliver the best running shoe shopping experience during your next visit.

    Have a great spring!
    Ted Kushion
    Running Footwear Merchandise Manager

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  • Gazelle Sports Care - A 30 Day Challenge celebrating 30 Years!

    Why Care?

    Care is one of the values we share at Gazelle Sports. Our value statement on Care states: We approach all relationships with care. Our actions respect each other, our business, our customers and our community. Gazelle Sports synonyms – Kindness, Friendliness, Service, Support, Give, Respect and Love.

    We provide training on care, we discuss care, we recognize care, and we genuinely attempt to provide care in every interaction at Gazelle Sports. You may have read our mission statement that states, in part, “We provide the world’s best customer care...” You may wonder if this is necessary. Should a retail business devote so much effort to a primary life value? Why care? Why not just have a great selection of products? We think it is better to be part of a business that cares about relationships and great products. We believe that most of us really want to shop with people who care. We believe care should be part of for-profit business and that it can impact our communities and culture.

    And we know that a work environment that supports care is a happier workplace, as well as a more fun place to work. We hope that we inspire you to be active and live a healthy life with our products, services and support. However, we also hope you value a business that cares about you and the community we share. As we celebrate our 30th year, we’ll be holding a staff 30 Day Care Challenge to recognize this essential part of our business. We invite you to join us and find daily connections (giving and receiving) to kindness, friendliness, service, supporting, giving, respect and love.

    Happy Holidays!
    Keep Moving,
    Chris Lampen-Crowell

    Chris’ Rules of Care

    Here are a few things to remember that may not be apparent when attempting 30 Days of Care.

    •  Care is about giving AND receiving - practice both. Please enjoy the giving - it always feels good to give.But also allow and enjoy receiving.
    • Care for yourself first. We can easily forget that we must take care of ourselves so that we can give to others.
    • We are human and bound not to be perfect. Care is not about being perfect, simply expressing it moves energy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Waiting for the right moment, right event, right words so that our expressions are perfect is disabling. Care in any action is enabling!
    • Part of the care equation is gratitude - express it frequently. Gratitude is always healthy

    Here are some ideas to get you started:

    • Leave a special note for a friend or coworker
    • Bring flowers to a friend
    • Pick up 3 pieces of litter
    • Leave a thank you note for your mail carrier
    • Take an extra 10 minutes for yourself
    • Donate 3 items to a local food bank
    • Volunteer 3 hours of your time
    • Play FreeRice.com and feed the hungry
    • Pay for the person behind you in line
    • Surprise someone with their favorite warm beverage
    • Call a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while to see how they’re doing
    • Leave quarters taped to a parking meter
    • Actively commute to a place you would usually drive
    • Donate to a charity
    • Bake and share with friends and neighbors
    • Invite a co-worker to do something with you (yoga, movie, anything)
    • Leave popcorn by a Redbox
    • Take coloring books to a children’s hospital
    • Send an encouraging text/message to a friend
    • Give someone a book you think they’d like
    • Leave a positive note on a bathroom mirror

    Tell us how you are spreading care with #GazelleSportsCare!
    Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 11.05.11 AM Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 11.05.31 AM

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  • Half/Full Marathon Training Program Week 18

    Welcome to Week 18!

    What an amazing experience that last few months have been! You may have gotten a new personal record, tried new running routes or made new friends.

    What’s next: Now that race day is right around the corner, you may be asking yourself “What’s next?”  After you take a week or two off, come in and see us at Gazelle Sports. There’s always something going on. Our next training program will be starting up soon, and we’d love to see you back. In the meantime, each store offers different group runs and clinics that can help you stay active and healthy in the off season. Maybe now is the time to get a gait analysis, take Good Form Running, or try your hand at trail running with the Dirty Herd.

    As far as race day goes, remember why you started this training program to begin with. Out of all the different ways to stay active, you chose running. Time to show that course what you’re made of!

     

    Keep Moving!

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  • Half/Full Marathon Training Program Week 17

    Welcome to Week 17! Race day will be here before you know it. This week we’re talking about race day tips. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

    1. Rest your mind as well as your body. Get good sleep!
    2. Eat well. Fuel yourself how you want to fuel your race.
    3. Test out your race day outfit (including shoes) before the race.
    4. Remember that this is just another run. At the end of the day, you’re just putting one foot in front of the other.
    5. Lastly, be patient, be confident and don’t sweat the small stuff. People have a tendency to start the race faster than they should. Remember to take it easy and find your pace. This is your race, so have fun with it.

    If you are still looking for a little extra motivation to get you to the finish line, think about what motivates you. You are about to accomplish something amazing and you should celebrate. When the finish line seems far away, think about that 26.2 or 13.1 magnet for your car, that Patagonia top you’ve been eyeing or that dessert/micro brew you’ve been craving. Whatever it is that motivates you, use it to your advantage on race day.

    Keep Moving!

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  • Shop the styles from our fall mailer

    To moving more...

    Whether it’s an early morning jog, a quick walk during that too-short lunch break, sets of sit ups during the Netflix binge we swear never happened, or an evening yoga class, we’re committing to moving more this fall and we hope you’ll join us.

    Seize the day and look fabulous while doing it! You can start with these styles:

    PrintBrooks Dash 1/2 Zip  /  Greenlight Tight SE  /  Adrenaline ASR 12

    PrintBrooks Joyride Hoodie  /  Distance Tank  /  Streaker Tight  /  Ghost 8

    PrintSmartwool Isto Sport Sweater  /  Corbet Skirt

    PrintSaucony Velocity Long Sleeve Top  /  Scoot Capri  /  Guide 8

    PrintLolë Call Me Dress

    PrintLolë Essence Cardigan  /  Run Capri 

    PrintUnder Armour Essential Jacket  /  Slim Air Cargo Pants

    PrintUnder Armour Transit Top  /  Studio Printed Legging

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  • Half / Full Marathon Training Programs Week 16

    Welcome to Week 16! Now that we’re in more of an in-between season (not too hot, not too cold), we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to talk about transitional pieces and safety gear.

    First, let’s talk about transitional pieces. A lightweight, breathable, packable jacket is a perfect companion for those in-between season runs. Especially in Michigan - where weather can change quickly - it’s great to have a lightweight jacket just in case!

    Second, let’s talk safety. Any time you’re running at night in low-light situations or on busy streets, being seen means staying safe! We carry options like brightly colored reflective gear and blinking lights that help you be visible to others.

    Other valuable safety tips include:
    Leave your headphones at home.
    Carry identification, including your name, phone number and blood type.
    Carry a cell phone.
    Trust your intuition about a person or an area
    Always stay alert & aware of what's going on around you.
    Tell friends & family of your route and when they can expect you home.
    Run against traffic so that you can observe approaching cars
    Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
    Look both ways before crossing and make sure drivers acknowledge your right of way before running in front of vehicles
    Call the police immediately if anything happens to you or someone else, or if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
    Avoid un-populated areas, deserted streets, overgrown trails, parked cars and bushes. Especially avoid unlit areas at night.
    Run with a buddy!

    Keep Moving!

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  • Half / Full Marathon Training Programs Week 15

    Welcome to Week 15! This week we will talk about all the miles you’ve been logging on your shoes, and if it’s time to replace them.

    What you should know about running shoes is that they generally last 300-500 miles. This will vary greatly depending on the type of shoe, running surface, your running gait, etc. After these many miles, even if the outsole still looks good, the midsole will have lost its ability to compress and rebound, thus no longer adequately absorbing shock. Your body will be forced to absorb more of the forces generated by running, which can lead to discomfort and injury.

    Sometimes the best way to know for sure if you need new shoes is to try on a new pair. If you notice a big difference right away, it’s a sign that it’s time to replace your old shoes.

    In terms of timing, now is the perfect time to break in a new pair of shoes before your big race. Remember, we highly discourage running your race in shoes you’ve never worn before.

    Keep Moving!

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  • Half / Full Marathon Training Programs Week 14

    Welcome to Week 14! This week we will discuss a couple of really useful accessories for runners.

    First of all, let’s talk about race belts. Think of a race belt as a smaller, more convenient version of the fanny pack. A race belt is a great tool for all of your training runs, plus it’s lightweight. You’ll hardly notice it. Come race day, you can pin your bib to it to avoid poking holes in your shirt. A small expandable pocket easily holds a cell phone, ID and/or keys.

    Next, let’s talk sunglasses. Gazelle Sports sells sunglasses that will stay put even when you’re on the move. Keep the sun out of your eyes with a stylish pair specifically designed with the runner in mind.

    Keep Moving!

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  • Half / Full Marathon Training Programs Week 13

    Welcome to Week 13! This week we will discuss cross training, which is important for every training program participant.

    Cross training is beneficial for runners of all distances and skill levels. When you use the same muscle groups over and over again by running, you’re at a higher risk for a repetitive-use injury. You’re also at risk for boredom.

    The goal of cross training is to utilize other methods of exercise (cycling, swimming, yoga, strength training) in order to increase flexibility, strength and endurance. Plus, trying something new can decrease boredom, and you might just find a new activity that you like! The most important thing is to have fun and keep moving.

    Keep Moving!

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  • Half / Full Marathon Training Programs Week 12

    Welcome to Week 12! This week we will talk about all things headwear.

    Hats, headbands and Buff bands are great for keeping hair and sweat out of your face and eyes, plus many offer UV sun protection. Hats are a great option for rainy days. They help keep the rain out of your eyes, plus, when you also wear a rain proof jacket you can stay completely dry! Buff bands are not just for keeping your face and ears warm in the winter, they are also a great way to protect yourself from the sun in the warmer months. Check out all the different ways you can wear them here (add a link to the http://buffusa.com/wear/ways_to_wear_a_buff) With so many options, a Buff band is great to have for every run! Ladies: don’t let your flyaways affect your run, try one of our headbands! With so many options, you are sure to find one that gets the job done and looks great.

    Keep Moving!

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  • Half / Full Marathon Training Programs Week 11

    Welcome to Week 11! This week, we will talk about taking care of your tech apparel - shirts, shorts, pants, socks and bras.

    We always recommend washing technical apparel with sports washes, such as Sweat X Sport. Sweat X Sport is a specially formulated high performance sports laundry detergent that is designed to remove even the toughest sports stains and stench from technical fabrics. Bonus: it’s 100 percent biodegradable, 100 percent non-toxic and nearly neutral pH. This stuff works so well that we tried it out on 10-year-old Patagonia base layers. After three washes (and wearing in between), the base layer looked and smelled as good as new.

    Remember to check the tag on your apparel before washing it. Sometimes they include special care instructions.

    Keep Moving!

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