Fleet Feet Chico recently under new ownership

Local family assumes daily operations of area’s leading specialty running store

Chico, CA (Nov. 12, 2014)—After nine-and-a-half years of owning and running the Chico’s premier running store, Alan Rice and Susan Zepernick have sold Fleet Feet Chico—and the new owners are familiar faces in the local running community.

Locals Paul and Kristina Smith, and Kristina’s mother, Yuba City resident Carol Esparza, have purchased the specialty running store in downtown Chico. Zepernick said the Smiths approached her and Rice about purchasing the store when the former owners indicated they were looking to own two running stores—something Chico couldn’t sustain. So Zepernick and Rice opted to sell instead, and are looking at opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.

The choice of potential new owners was a no-brainer, said Zepernick, since the Smiths are very familiar with Fleet Feet Chico. This is Kristina Smith’s second stint working at the store, and husband Paul (a sub-2:30 marathon runner) has coached multiple training programs throughout the years, building a positive reputation thanks to his running acumen and ability to connect with runners.

“We felt it was a natural fit and an obvious one, as well,” Zepernick said. “Kristina was involved in the business and is a natural to run it, and Carol is a natural to be part of the business.

“When the opportunity presented itself, we knew to take it.”

The current roles of the new owners are quite well defined. Kristina Smith will be involved in the day-to-day operations of running the store. Esparza will take care of finances. And Paul Smith will continue his role with the wildly popular training programs.

“We love Chico. Chico is where Paul and I met, and Chico is where our daughter was born,” said Kristina Smith. “Chico is our home, and the running community in this town is part of our Chico family.”

About Fleet Feet Chico

Fleet Feet Chico is the area’s leading store for specialty running and fitness shoes and apparel. Located in the heart of downtown Chico, Fleet Feet is committed to its local running and fitness community, as it hosts numerous in-store events throughout the year, proudly sponsors many local races (including the Run For Food), and offers a wide range of training programs for events ranging from a 5k program for beginners to advanced marathon runners. For more information on Fleet Feet Chico or its training programs, visit its website or its Facebook page.

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