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The best way to avoid cold feet during winter’s worst weather is to find the right footwear, and The Athlete’s Source in Bethel is helping customers start the year off on the right foot.
The Athlete’s Source is located at 83 Stony Hill Road, in the Big Y Plaza, which was previously occupied by a New Balance franchise for nearly a decade.
After the owner of a New Balance franchise retired last January and the store subsequently closed, customers did not have to wait long to have their footwear needs met by a new vendor.
Just a few months later, four business partners — Erik Tonner, Brian Maciel, Jay Holland, and Chris Carlucci — opened The Athlete’s Source on April 22.
Managing partner for The Athlete’s Source and former manager of New Balance, Mr Tonner said the partners intentionally chose to keep the shoe store at the location because it was familiar to existing customers, and easy to find for new ones.
“It’s a completely new business, but same management,” Mr Maciel explained.
The partners chose to separate from the franchise in search of establishing a business they could grow and showcase a variety of brands.
When it was a franchise, Mr Maciel said, “everything had to be labeled New Balance, whether they made it or not. It was extremely restrictive; even within the New Balance brand they limited what you could buy. Believe it or not there are items now, not being a New Balance store, that we can order that the New Balance store couldn’t get from New Balance.” One of those items is a New Balance machine that makes custom-molded insoles onsite in just ten minutes.
The store also installed an Aetrex machine that can analyze pressure points on one’s feet and give personalized recommendations for the optimal type of footwear to consider.
Machines aside, Mr Maciel believes it is person-to-person interaction that sets The Athlete’s Source services apart. Staff members provide individualized fittings accommodating the length and width of feet, along with gait assessments to observe the foot’s motion.
“We want to offer you options that are going to work for your specific foot [for] fit and function, and then you can make an informed decision,” Mr Maciel said. “We guarantee everything we do, whether we mold you an insert, sell you an insert or a shoe — if it doesn’t work, bring it back.”
Winter Shoes And Apparel
Winter may deliver countless individual-looking snowflakes, but the needs of winter athletes are just as unique.
“Everyone’s best shoe is dependent on their foot,” Mr Maceil said.
That is why The Athlete’s Source carries multiple brands, including Brooks, Stride Rite, Crocs, and Adidas, as well as different styles of shoes and replacement insoles to help each person find the right fit.
For those looking to venture outdoors this winter, he says it is important to own at least one pair of exercise or running shoes that are waterproof.
The Athlete’s Source has Merrell, Rockport, and New Balance boots available for men and women, as well as Asics shoes for outdoor runners who need extra traction. While there, peruse the line of waterproof and windproof jackets, as well.
“Now that we have multibrands,” Mr Maceil said, “we have some very nice Adidas outdoor apparel and winter Under Armour leggings.”
“We try to accommodate everybody,” Mr Tonner said. “We are going to constantly strive to give the customers what they are asking for.”
Visit the store in person, reach them by phone at 203-456-3314, or go to facebook.com/tasbethel.