West Michigan-based retailer Gazelle Sports will open a fourth location this summer, expanding into the Metro Detroit area.
The running, soccer and active lifestyle specialty retailer will launch a Northville store in the highly anticipated Northville Park Place shopping center located at Seven Mile and Haggerty roads. Gazelle Sports Northville is targeting a June opening.
“We want to provide a different kind of customer experience, one we don’t think is currently available in this area,” said Chris Lampen-Crowell, Gazelle Sports co-owner. “We bring an amazing retail experience to active people and those who want to get moving, both in terms of our staff and their ability to help individuals at any fitness level, but also in terms of the breadth of our product assortment...particularly apparel that isn’t currently available in the area.”
Gazelle Sports specializes in footwear and apparel for its customers’ active lifestyles. Whether it’s product for a first or fiftieth 5K, Monday yoga class or a Saturday soccer tournament, Gazelle Sports is committed to providing its customers with the best product and the “world’s best customer care,” as the retailer’s mission statement promises. “Our new sales associates experience 50 to 60 hours of training before working independently on our sales floor, while continuing education averages two hours a week,” reports Lampen-Crowell.
Gazelle Sports is already well known to many in greater Northville via its local soccer club involvement through Gazelle Sports’ Team Division. Gazelle Sports Northville will offer a unique soccer experience within the store along with its industry-leading running expertise. Gazelle Sports was named one of the Top Four Running Stores in the nation in 2012 by Competitor Magazine and has made its Top 50 list every year for nearly a decade.
“We have really solid roots in terms of our belief system and why we’re in business,” Lampen-Crowell said. “To grow and continue to be in business over a span of 30 years, you have to be highly adaptable but also never lose your focus. Gazelle Sports builds on relationships; relationships with our employees and relationships with our customers, our vendors and our communities. We’re more than just a transactional business.”
That commitment to being more than a transactional business led Gazelle Sports to become a Certified Benefit Corporation (B Corp) in 2013, a designation awarded by B Lab, a non-profit group that promotes sustainable business practices. Each company must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency before it can be awarded B Corp status.
B Corp certified companies are actively leading the way in which success in business is defined by developing equitable and sustainable best practices to help solve social, environmental and business problems. B Corps work to make a real difference for all of their stakeholders: owners, customers, employees, communities and the world.
“We’re more than just another company moving in to make a profit,” Lampen-Crowell said. “We’re a company that is trying to impact people’s health and the health of a community. We’re a company that cares.”
That focus on individual and community health is apparent in the relationships Gazelle Sports forms with community charity partners. Kent County Girls on the Run and Gazelle Sports have partnered for more than 11 years, both sharing a mission of promoting health, confidence and joy.
“Gazelle Sports’ commitment to outstanding customer service and community investment is apparent in every interaction and with staff at every level,” said Lori Burgess, director of Kent County Girls on the Run. “I've never seen a company that so clearly lives out this type of commitment on a daily basis. Their investment goes beyond our girls. Gazelle Sports is investing in the lives of our families, coaches and volunteers. They approach every project they are involved in with consistent quality of service and a desire to serve the customer and the community.”
Robert Ezelle, chief professional officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo, stressed the same service to community.
“Gazelle Sports has total impact on the community by its involvement in community issues and by offering solutions to community problems, and ultimately giving back to the community by spearheading many non-profit fundraising events that help improve the quality of life of our residents,” Ezelle said.
With current locations in Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo forming a combined 76 years of retail experience, the Gazelle Sports team is excited to bring their knowledge and exceptional customer care to the Northville market.
“We’ve been building our company so we could support growth,” Lampen-Crowell said. “We’ve been significantly investing in our infrastructure and human resources so that we can grow while keeping our mission and values aligned and at the forefront of everything we do. At the end of the day, we want to inspire and help people to be active and fit, support them in their movement goals, and to be a thriving business so we can continue our efforts in this regard.”
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