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New footwear and food fare stepping out in Greenville

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Chris Loignon, right, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Greenville, used computerized 3-D technology to precisely measure customer Del Daniels' feet for a pair of running shoes.


By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Some new businesses in Greenville are aimed at people with an appetite for exercise, while others open now or coming soon are ready to replace those burned calories with food fare.

Leading the list is Fleet Feet Sports, specializing in top-shelf shoes for the running community, located at 709 S.E. Greenville Blvd., next to the Publix supermarket.

The national franchise chain is locally owned since October by ECU alumni Chris and Kendra Loignon. His degree is in sports science and hers is in nursing.  Loignon started with Fleet Feet in 2011 as an employee at the Winston-Salem franchise and worked his way into a management position before deciding he wanted to own his own store.

“I realized there was nothing like this in Greenville and it was an easy move for us, being alumni,” he said. “We knew this community needed something like this to spearhead the running movement and we were blessed to be able to do this. We specialize in running, walking, fitness (cross training) and comfort. There are a lot of people on their feet all day, so the process of making sure they have the right footwear can make a huge difference.”

Loignon said he hand-selects the brands (10 of them) and shoe models for his store based on what he sees as the needs for the people in his community. Prices start at $100 and go up to $160. His staff is trained in lower leg and foot biomechanics and specialize in proper shoe fit and gait analysis. After talking with customers about their running habits, they are escorted to a computerized 3-D platform that precisely measures their feet to provide the right shoe and fit for their running needs.

“Of course, we carry the brands and styles that sell the most, but we also wanted to bring in some brands that aren’t even in the community yet, like On Cloud and Karhu, an exclusive European brand available only at Fleet Feet stores,” Loignon said. 

The retailer already has seen the benefits of his methods through the numbers of referrals that have come in for shoes.

Del Daniels of Goldsboro already had heard about Fleet Feet from friends when she happened to see the Greenville store on her way to lunch.

“I’d heard good things about it, especially the expertise of the staff in making sure you get the correct shoe for your foot,” Daniels said. “I’m very active athletically and I do a lot of long-distance walking, so it’s important for me to have the right shoes and socks, so I don’t mind paying more for the quality.  I’m excited about trying the shoe, based on the evaluation that I got on my feet. The technology is amazing.”

Fleet Feet also carries a wide assortment of athletics apparel, sports bras, and products to help people achieve their fitness goals, Loignon said.

Although new to Greenville, the Loignons already have put their business name out into the community by sponsoring several races, including the Riley’s Army 5k and the Reindeer Dash for Cash 5k and 10-mile races.

“We want to be out with runners, and those races attract hundreds of people,” Loignon said. “And we like the causes that those runs support. We have kids ourselves, so we like to support nonprofits like Reilly’s Army.”

Fleet Feet also sponsors a nationwide 5k of its own, The Big Run, on Global Running Day, this year on June 6.

New Greenville eateries

Luna Pizza Cafe and Pub, 632-100 S. Pitt Street, in the restored Coca-Cola Bottling plant next to the Pitt Street Brewery, is open from 5-10  p.m. seven days a week. Call at 751-0900. The restaurant brings artisanal pizza made with fresh, local ingredients, fresh appetizers, desserts, and a full bar to the Uptown Greenville arts district.

Smashed Waffles, 718 Dickinson Ave in the Uptown Greenville arts district, has a smashing new way to create waffles, rolled into dough balls and then smashed in a cast iron waffle press and baked until they’re golden brown to ensure a caramelized outer shell and a fluffy inside. The waffles can be topped off with a variety of flavor combinations. The store also serves locally-roasted coffee, crafted lattes and NITRO cold-brew kegged coffee. Call at 364-2872.

Ford & Shep Restaurant, also at 718 Dickinson Ave., 751-3472, named for Chef Brandon Qualls’ two sons, will offer a globally-inspired menu that changes every few days, and will serve locally roasted coffee. Limited reservations for a while, at least.

Newk’s Eatery and catering will open soon on Southeast Greenville Boulevard at the former Panera Bread in La Promenade shopping center, serving soups, salads, sandwiches, mac and cheese, pizza and desserts. Owned by the team that founded McAlister’s Deli. Online ordering will be available.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9507.