Fleet Feet acquired specialty running retailer FITniche and its three locations in the Tampa, FL., area. Current owner Rich Wills, who founded FITniche in 2005, will exit the business as he moves on to his next career venture.

Under company ownership, these locations will bring Fleet Feet’s count of Florida stores to ten as the brand launches its personalized services and community outreach programs to a new market.

“We are extremely grateful to Rich and the entire FITniche team for the strong foundation they’ve established over the past 16 years and the trust they have in Fleet Feet to build upon that,” says John Moloznik, director of business development at Fleet Feet. “This is a milestone acquisition that propels Fleet Feet’s growth and brings our national resources and infrastructure to the Tampa and Lakeland communities. We see nothing but potential ahead.”

An entrepreneur, and former senior project manager at Publix Super Markets corporate headquarters, Wills opened the first FITniche in 2005 in Lakeland, FL eventually adding locations in Brandon and Flatwoods. Over his 16-year career, Wills earned recognition as one of the Top 50 Running Stores in America three times – in 2013, 2018 and 2019 – and as a Top Four Store in 2008. 

“Through FITniche, I’ve had the opportunity to develop meaningful connections with employees, customers, community members and partners, and reps, so many of whom have become my friends and family,” said Willis. “I’m so proud of what we all accomplished together, and I look forward to witnessing their continued success with Fleet Feet.”

Erik Adams will manage the three locations effective immediately. Adams previously served as operating partner of Fleet Feet’s locations in Charlotte, NC and Fort Mill, SC. Prior to his career with Fleet Feet, Adams served in the Army as a medic and completed two tours in Iraq. Adams concluded his military career as the operations manager of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Augusta, Ga. Since joining Fleet Feet, Adams leadership as an operating partner has spurred ongoing growth and success in the Fort Mill and Charlotte markets.

The stores will rebrand to Fleet Feet on a rolling basis throughout the next few months. Customers will also soon have the option of shopping FITNiche online as part of the fleetfeet.com experience.