Evan Groendyk is the embodiment of all the things most people think a Gazelle Sports employee probably is. He’s a wicked fast, vegan runner who lives in Patagonia button-downs and split shorts. He believes that movement can change people’s lives, and he’s right about that. He’s been dubbed the Positive Vibes Liaison at Gazelle Sports, and he takes that role very seriously. He takes great joy in caring for customers and sharing his passions with them.
What makes Evan a bit more unique, beyond his dedication to providing exceptional care and service, is what he no longer is. In the past, Evan was a long-time smoker who struggled to quit and didn’t do himself any favors by treating himself right or eating well. Though he grew up with a father who was doing ultra-marathons long before it was cool, Evan himself was not much of a runner.
While attending Northwestern Michigan College, Evan made a decision to take better care of himself, in part thanks to the influence of a woman who would one day become his wife. He quit smoking, started running, and has been a vegan for nine years.
“Running helps me be my best self,” Evan said. “Now, a healthy lifestyle for me is all about balance.
I say everything in moderation, including moderation.”
After transferring to Western Michigan University and graduating with a degree in Spanish and environgmental studies, Evan worked at an environmental consulting firm in Grand Rapids. Quickly realizing a desk job was not for him, Evan found his way to Gazelle Sports and has never looked back.
“Working at Gazelle Sports allows me to surround myself with like-minded people on a daily basis,” Evan said. “It’s a motivating, fun place to work.”
Evan gets motivation from his fellow co-workers, but also the customers he meets every day.
“It’s amazing, the stories you hear and sometimes get to become a part of,” Evan said. “It’s not just about the transaction. We help people every day and are building relationships so we can continue to help them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a race and people yell ‘Hey shoe guy! You got me in these shoes and they’re awesome!’ Then I’ll see them back in the store or out in the community again and it gives me a chance to further solidify our relationship.”
It’s through leadership from people like Evan that Gazelle Sports can offer exemplary service and focus on customer care.
“Service these days is kind of a lost art in our society,” Evan said. “So many places don’t care one way or the other if you leave happy, as long as you’ve spent some money. The thing is, helping others and making sure they’re happy and satisfied, in turn, makes me feel good. It’s a symbiotic relationship,
one that continues to grow.”