Sports Insight

July / August 2019

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16 • Sports Insight July/August 2019 M ike Cosentino, founder and CEO of Big Peach Running Co., a sev- en-door run specialty retail chain based in Atlanta, made a bold move in August 2018, purchasing a 33-foot vehicle from a company in Marietta, GA that specializes in food trucks. He architected and fabricated his six-figure purchase himself before getting "Big Peach On Wheels" on the road to serve as a mobile, on-site store at schools, races and corporations across Georgia. "No one would deny, getting closer to some- one is a way to become more convenient," Cosentino says. "I think all [specialty store owners] should be thinking about convenience." We caught up with Cosentino to learn about the venture and whether he would advise others in the sports specialty business to give a similar mobile store on wheels a spin. How did you come up with this idea for the mobile store? As enthusiastic as I am about Atlanta's running scene, there are certainly plenty of indications out there that the city has a bit of a traffic prob- lem. We have seven brick-and-mortar stores throughout the area… And people weren't always willing to take on the challenges [to come into our stores] for a purchase or a group run whether it was the distance, the traffic, the time of day or their personal schedule. Under a bit of an internal rally cry, which was 'Convenience is the Battleground,' we started a few initiatives back in 2012 to try and bring our guests closer to us... We opened a couple of stores that we are glad we opened, but at the same they were not penetrating [with potential customers] deep enough. As we continued to push forward, recognizing 'Convenience is the Battleground,' Big Peach on Wheels became the concept that started to gain some traction. We felt we had to go forward with it even though it was not going to be inexpensive or easy. If we were serious about winning a battle and ultimately proving our merit in the war of convenience, we just had to give it a shot." What were the start-up costs like? "It's a lot more expensive than what we in- vested in same-day delivery, although it's less expensive than opening a new store de- pending on tenant improvement allowances and things like that. It was in the six figures." How does Big Peach On Wheels operate and integrate with your traditional brick- and-mortar business? In terms of operating and integrating, it's really two-fold, and it works both ways. We have a general manager of Big Peach On Wheels. It operates as a separate business unit from any of our brick-and-mortar locations. Just like we want healthy, friendly competition among our stores, we also want to have a culture where we are serving our mission and doing what it takes to exceed the expectations of our guests. We can carry $100,000 worth of inventory on the truck based on the way we've built some stocking mechanisms. We are able to pull up the store inventory as we use the same point-of-sale system. For our Big Peach On Wheels guests, we can click a few buttons and have a product shipped to his or her residence or address of choice from one of our stores. On the flip side, Big Peach On Wheels becomes an opportu- nity for our stores. For example, right now in the Southeast, we're in the middle of cross-country season. And what used to be 'Spike Nights' in the store for student-athletes... instead of asking them to come to 'Spike Night,' it's like, 'We will come to you.' We'll be there courtside, in your parking lot, alongside your track. And there's value to Big Peach On Wheels and these stores fulfilling orders for it." Where have you taken Big Peach On Wheels in the last 12 months? What has been the general consumer response? "Schools and corporations — those are some- what obvious. e other place everyone thinks about is being at races. ere certainly is a presence when you have a 33-foot truck at the finish line. ere is a possibility that you will pick-up some sales either before or aer B Y B O B M C G E E Big Peach Running Company puts a unique spin on retail. Rolling Along Mike Cosentino, Big Peach Running Co. IN THE MARKET / RUNNING Listen to a podcast conversation with Big Peach Running Company owner Mike Cosentino on the podcast page at

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