This is a reprint of a message that Fleet Feet/New Balance owner Keith Davis shared with his customer base via social media.
“On March 17, I had an all-staff meeting for Fleet Feet and New Balance Winston-Salem. We were closing the store for an indefinite period of time to weather the COVID-19 storm. At that time, we had no idea how long we’d be closing or, quite frankly, that we’d ever open again. We had been experiencing unprecedented growth to that point, and on 3/17 it all came to a screeching halt. It was not a slow-down. It was an absolute halt. Our customer experience-oriented retail model, our greatest asset, was facing a lockdown. We had no Plan B. We were pretty much a one-trick pony (even if we did do that trick pretty well!). At the time, we weren’t yet fulfilling e-commerce orders. There was no such thing as curbside pick-up or pre-scheduled appointments. The ways we would need to evolve in order to continue to do business – none of this was even on our minds that day. We just knew this was scary and we had to act. I shared with our team a visualization that was shared with me. We had a boat and needed to cross a terribly rough, choppy sea. The boat had room for everybody but fully loaded, the boat faced significant risk of not making the crossing. There were multiple strategies, none certain or guaranteed to succeed. I could rationalize every scenario in my mind, but my heart told me there was only one way to go. We all had to get into that boat as a TEAM. Our best and only chance for success was that EVERY member of the team had to grab whatever they could to use as an oar and paddle their butts off. Nobody could just go along for the ride or we could all go down with the boat. We set off that day, as a TEAM. EVERYBODY played a role. A very few did agree to stay behind, knowing we would come back for them. But everybody who needed or wanted a seat, had one. And everybody grabbed an oar, and we worked.
Three months later, I arrived at work to find an oar on my desk, which was artfully emblazoned with the words from Isaiah 43:2. Now, we find ourselves nearing that far-away shore that seemed so far off in mid-March. Our team is intact and our organization is stronger than it has ever been. We all realize this journey may not be over. We discovered more dangers than just the seas that we had to battle along the way (turns out there were some monsters in that water that we had to address too). But, we’re all here, we’re all still rowing, and I am so proud of our team. Thank you to our long-time employee, Erin Key, for her creativity in crafting this oar and marking the occasion. And thank you to my entire team – those that work for us and the many more that support us in countless ways – for grabbing an oar and rowing us to the other side. No matter what happens from here on out, we are emboldened as ever in the Truth that we have no reason to fear and that together we can do anything.”
NOTE FROM KIM: He didn’t have the words to the Bible verse anywhere so I added it below. If he doesn’t want it there, you’ll need to delete it.
Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.