Finish Line: A Story of Success

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FinishLine Website

The Finish Line Shoe Company has gone from strength to strength since its origins as a franchise operator for The Athlete’s Foot back in 1976. It is pretty amazing to think that three friends took an idea of bringing quality running shoes to the Indianapolis area, grabbing the rights for both Indiana and Louisville, and within 30 years they owned a company that had generated over $1 billion in sales.

The company began with their first store in Indianapolis and within 5 years they had expanded to a total of 12 stores as franchise owners for The Athlete’s Foot across the whole of Indiana. However, at this point the three owners, Alan Cohen, David Klapper, and John Dormont, all had a problem as they wanted to expand their empire, but were unable to do so as there were no further franchise opportunities available. The solution? Converting their existing 12 stores into their own brand and The Finish Line was officially born.

The First Steps To Expansion

Larry Sablosky

Larry Sablosky: Co-Founder of Finish Line

This expansion led to them looking for further business partners and in 1982 they invited David Fagin and Larry Sablosky. By 1991 the company had expanded to include a total of 105 stores and sales approaching $100 million per year. The five partners came to the conclusion that the only way forward was to take The Finish Line public, which they did in 1992. By 1996, they owned a total of 220 stores and had sales in the region of $300 million, but they were not finished.

The Internet And Taking Advantage Of E-commerce

Two further public offerings were made with continued expansion including the emergence of their website in 1999. This in itself was seen as being a good move and they would go on to double their online sales year after year until 2004. At the same time, they would continue their work with their offline stores reaching a total of 500 stores across the country and achieving sales of just under $1 billion. Indeed, it would only take them a further year until they managed to breach that particular milestone.

It is a sign of the company that reaching this figure was not seen as being the end of the story as further expansion between 2005 and 2009 led to over 700 stores and continual high sales figures that led to the company becoming a mainstay in the athletic shoe industry. Indeed, even at this current time they still operate more than 660 stores that are located in 47 different states and even though the original founders have either retired or taking a back seat from the company, their business is still run in the same manner as those early days.

The history of The Finish Line is one of success and there is no doubt that their future is as rosy as it has always been since those early days.