It took a run specialty point of view to liven up a recent sporting goods conference — and Mike Cosentino from Big Peach Running Company in Atlanta was the perfect guy to do it.

The occasion was the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) 55th annual Management Conference and 21st Annual Team Dealer Summit in Braselton, GA, not far from Cosentino’s home turf. He was invited as a speaker on a panel ambitiously titled “Improving the Sporting Goods Retail Experience.” With more than $10 million in annual sales from seven stores (and one Big Peach on Wheels mobile unit) and more than 100 employees in the Atlanta area, Big Peach certainly has improved the retail experience in its highly competitive market.

“Running is who I am,” Cosentino told the audience. “It is what has defined me, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. But many of us are not that great at store design and retailing. We have to be very aware of how we do it and not be afraid to ask for help.”

Following are a dozen of his comments to a crowd of full-line retailers and independent team dealers, many of whom could certainly use some of his overall enthusiasm and retail savvy.


  1. “People ask me what’s our secret. There is no secret. We are very clear with our team and anyone can figure it out — pay attention to the environment we provide for our guests and the interaction we have with our guests. Everything falls into those two buckets.”


  1. “If we are not working hard every day, if we simply manage, we become less relevant every day.”


  1. “We have four core values. One, our best business asset is our team. Two, Make It Better. Three, always choose service excellence. Four, we take run seriously. This is Big Peach Running Company and it never changes.”


  1. “What your team wants from you is a better boss, a bigger vision from that boss and a brighter vision from that boss.”


  1. “Big Peach is the friendliest place on the plant. Did we borrow that from Disney? Yes, we did. And you should, too.”


  1. “We want our employees to listen to what our guests want to talk about. We are not the hero on the stage. We are the guide on the side to our guests.”


  1. “Work is theater. Every business s a stage. We are all performers on it every day.”


  1. “Unless you are delivering an experience, you have no authority to determine your margins and your prices.”


  1. “I went kicking and screaming into e-commerce, but right now we are spending a lot of money upgrading it.” (Editor’s note: Big Peach currently does less than 10 percent of its business online.)


  1. “Social media is important to us and we can influence but we can not control what message our guests are sending. It used to be called ‘word of mouth.’ Now it is called social media.”


  1. “Entitlement selling is dead and if you are still selling that way, RIP baby.”


12. “Our competition is not in the world of sports. I would offer that we are in competition for limited resources of time, money and attention. If we win that competition, then we are in it to stay.”