Brooks/SNEWS surveying trail running market -- chime in!

Brooks thinks there's room in the trail running market -- especially with the emphasis today on shorter outdoor adventures that are lighter and faster. So the 90-year-old running specialist plans to introduce a trail/adventure line for spring 2005. But before the company fine-tunes its plans, products and promotions, it wants to know what outdoor specialty retailers think. So it turned to SNEWS, as the leading insider news source, for help: Brooks, in cooperation with SNEWS, is undertaking a survey of specialty retailers to hear from store owners, managers and buyers about the evolution of the trail running market. Brooks seeks quality information to better target its product; SNEWS seeks insider, no-holds-barred opinions it can share with its subscribers.
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Brooks thinks there's room in the trail running market -- especially with the emphasis today on shorter outdoor adventures that are lighter and faster. So the 90-year-old running specialist plans to introduce a trail/adventure line for spring 2005. But before the company fine-tunes its plans, products and promotions, it wants to know what outdoor specialty retailers think.

So it turned to SNEWS, as the leading insider news source, for help: Brooks, in cooperation with SNEWS, is undertaking a survey of specialty retailers to hear from store owners, managers and buyers about the evolution of the trail running market. Brooks seeks quality information to better target its product; SNEWS seeks insider, no-holds-barred opinions it can share with its subscribers.

You'll find the survey by clicking here. (If you printed out the digest, type in this link to get to the survey: http://66.114.136.114/brooks/specialtyoutdoorretailer0803/.) The survey will only take a few minutes to check boxes and fill in a few numbers. Feel free to pass around the link and information to your retail friends, too, since the web page is not password-protected to allow as many responses as possible. Remember, your opinion is valuable!

In return, Brooks is entering all participants into a raffle for shoes, and promises to share detailed information with all who took the time to take the survey. But to qualify, please dive in and take the survey by clicking on the above link by Aug. 20.

"We want to listen as much as we can," Stan Mavis, senior vice president of apparel and accessories, told SNEWS. "We want to come into the outdoor market and give them a reason to carry Brooks."

He said Brooks is serious about this endeavor, one he has championed since the Pearl Izumi co-founder arrived there in November 2002 after a stint at Asics.

"The product is not just a color-up to get into the outdoor market," Mavis added. Brooks is working on incorporating not only some of its current shoe technology but also other developing technology it can't reveal, he said. One emphasis, he said, will be "durability without weight," plus the company will also use its three types of running shoe lasts in its trail line.

"Our focus is running, so the product won't stray too far from running," Mavis said. "They'll be running shoes first and foremost," rather than trying to be generic multisport shoes.

How will it prove itself to the outdoor specialty retailer AND find a space on the shoe wall?

"There's going to have to be some movement on the wall" to find a space for Brooks, Mavis said, recognizing it could push some players off. "But I've always run my own race and we just want to have some great product with our reputation for great customer service, and we'll earn our way into the market. Who we displace will depend on the market."

This month, Brooks will be exhibiting at the Outdoor Retailer show for the third time and has joined the Outdoor Industry Association -- all part of becoming a part of the industry, getting to know it better, and building a solid foundation.

"The cool thing about this brand is that it's really dedicated to growing the specialty market," Mavis said, "primarily running specialty, but as we look at the outdoor business and how it's made this transition from camping, backpacking and mountaineering to a cardiovascular business, we know there's business there."

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