Yes! We’re Open: Sally Edwards

Yes! We’re Open: Sally Edwards


♪♪ Sally Edwards: You know,
I don’t want to get to my finish line, I’m 71
years old and say, “Gee, I have all
these regrets.” But rather I go inside of
my heart which is the most important muscle that we
have and I ask my heart, “What draws you forward?” And that lead me to be a
multiple time entrepreneur. Sally: My dream is
to get America fit. And I decided to start
with Sacramento which is my hometown. Crowd: Five, four,
three, two, one … (Siren) Narr: Sally Edwards
thought opening an athletic shoe store would be the key
to helping people get fit. In 1976, Sally and her
friend Elizabeth Jansen, both teachers at the time,
were the two entrepreneurs who launched Fleet Feet,
one of California’s first athletic shoe stores. Sally: We were two women,
we were both 28 years old so we were young. We had little
business experience. Narr: They bought a
beat up Victorian in one of Sacramento’s poorest
neighborhoods at the time. Sally: We had $2,000 and
it was selling for $22,000 so we put our 10% down. We fixed it up and
then we went to, had it appraised and it was
appraised for like $20,000 more and we went to the bank
and borrowed $20,000 and Elizabeth and I bought
a whole bunch of shoes. Everything was wrong
about the whole formula, but it worked Narr: They opened
June 1st, 1976. Sally: We had never run
a business before and all these things we were
learning and we made a lot of mistakes. When we did $100, which
was five pairs of shoes at roughly, typically they were
$20 a pair that many years ago, we had a great day. We got better and better and
better and learned a lot and I’ll never be more
appreciative than of those first customers that came in
our doors because they were golden. Narr: After six months,
their business started taking off and Fleet Feet
grew into much more than just an athletic shoe store. It became an integral
part of Sacramento’s fitness community and began
sponsoring and creating local races like
Sacramento’s first marathon, triathlon and fun runs. With the success of
their first store, Sally and Elizabeth decided
to open a second store in Chico. It was around this time when
Sally considered franchising their business. Sally: In 1986, Elizabeth
and I had a conversation and I wanted to grow the company
substantially and she was happy with the way it was. She said, “You know what,
I think I’d like to sell to
you,” so she sold to Fleet
Feet for a really reasonable price and I owned
100% of it and I said, “Let’s rock and roll.” Narr: The business
took off. By 1993, Fleet Feet had 42
locations across the country and was doing nearly
$20,000,000 in sales. However in the midst
of all this success, Sally had a change of heart. Sally: You know, I was
ready not to be Fleet Feet and to be Sally. I was writing books, I was
racing competitively and professionally and ran in
the Olympic trials in the marathon and I said,
“I’m running retail stores, I’ve got this busy life,
I don’t have much of a personal life and I’m ready
for that,” and something needed to go and Fleet
Feet was the one that really could use the attention. Narr: At 45 years old,
Sally decided it was time to let go of her
business of 17 years. Sally: You know, when
it’s your baby and you found it and you grew it to
adolescence and then you’re going to kind of kick it out
of the house and let it go, yeah, emotionally it was
hard and there was sadness around that and today
there’s a lot of happiness that that same DNA still
exists in every single one of those Fleet Feets. Narr: And so began a
new chapter in her life. Sally: You know
when I sold Fleet Feet, it was kind of
like, “You know, I’ve got enough money now to
live the rest of my life if I want to or I could invest
it in the next business.” Narr: Which is
exactly what she did. In 1993, Sally started a new
company called Heart Zones, a fitness lifestyle company
she runs to this day. Sally: Today Heart Zones
has grown to be a fitness technology, a fitness
education and a fitness training company. So our technology can
show that you’re getting healthier. Trainer: All right, Sarah,
you want to be two, number two? Narr: From the moment you
strap on the wearable device … Trainer: We’re going
to put it right here, there you go. Strap it up. Narr: The technology
delivers heart rate data and performance
metrics in real time. Trainer: Let’s see
some colors up there. All right, we’re
going to be working in the yellow orange zone. You want to hang out in that
yellow orange zone during these stations. Narr: And your workout
statistics are projected on a screen. Trainer: 10 seconds. If you’re on a set,
finish it real quick. Perfect. Narr: Athletic clubs and
schools across the country are using Heart
Zones’ technology. Trainer: Three,
two, one and rest. Sally: Technology’s
incredible. I love it and just, I
just say bring it on, give me,
whatever’s new, I want it. I think one of my
messages is about age. Entrepreneurship typically
is thought of as this young person’s business
format and it’s not. You can be an entrepreneur
your whole life or you can start when you’re 71. Every single day
you have a day, it’s precious. Live it fully and
live it healthy. Narr: You would think for
someone who’s accomplished so much in her life she
would want to slow things down a bit. Not quite. Sally: Slow is not a
word in my vocabulary. It probably
should be I mean, but I’ve got a lot to do. ♪♪ Sally: People say,
“Hey Sally, you’re 71, are you going to
retire,” and I look at them kind of with that surprise. No, I love what
I do every day. I’m going to keep going
down this road of staying on track and staying focused
and doing what really touches my heart. ♪♪

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