For Brooks, in times of economic uncertainty 'running kind of wins'
Brooks Running is in the midst of what it calls a "record run" since the start of the pandemic, surpassing $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time in company history.
The Seattle-based company has not yet disclosed its 2022 revenue, but Brooks reported continued growth through the first two quarters of last year. It also has plans to increase its footprint in the Fremont neighborhood, where its headquarters have been for a decade.
The company’s news is a bright spot in contrast with other reports about layoffs and businesses leaving office space in the Puget Sound area.
KNKX All Things Considered host Emil Moffatt visited Brooks headquarters and spoke with COO and President Dan Sheridan about the company’s growth. Listen to their conversation above, or read selected quotes below.
On the biggest changes he’s seen in more than 20 years with Brooks.
Like in every industry, technology and the digital transformation that's happening in the shopping journey is probably the biggest impact on our business and staying up to speed on how consumers are shopping. But this change in shopping behavior from when I started in this industry, where you had to go into a store, get fit, get the recommendation from the store owner or the shop owner, has really brought us to this digital transformation where there's more access to information.
On Brooks' sole focus on running shoes.
Investments are made based on where we think we can win the runner. And you know, one of the things that you find with runners is they've always got either an acute injury or a nagging injury...We’re in constant search of "how do we reduce the rate of injury?" So our focus on performance run footwear and apparel is really to keep runners running longer, farther, faster and injury free. And so we're obsessed with that.
On concerns about potential economic slowdown in 2023.
Yeah, we're always paying attention to the macroeconomic. But here's what we know about running over the last 20 years during recessionary times, whether it was 2008, 2009 or '15 and '16 when there was uncertainty, running kind of wins and makes the cut in households. And we believe there's a few fundamentals to it. You know running is habitual. People will tell you like "I got to just get my run in" and so they may drop their gym membership. It's something we pay attention to, but we're not overly overly focused on it.
On Brooks’ Seattle headquarters.
Seattle is a place where the outdoors are important to people. You know, we say in running, all you really need is clean air, clean water, and a great pair of running shoes or a run bra to go for a run. The community is one where we've found ourselves since 1997 and we've got an employee base here that's strong and engaged. And so we just feel like, you know, specifically the Fremont area's a little bit of our personality too. It's just a little different.
On his favorite places to run around town.
I think the Burke-Gilman Trail is somewhat of a life story for me. That was my run during college. I used to live about four miles from my girlfriend, now my wife. And so I'd run and meet her on the trail. We've pushed our kids in in baby joggers on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Green Lake is another one. You know, I think I've run that, I don't even know how many times. I mean, there's not really a bad spot. Go to go to the locks and hope the gates open so you get a break when you're running in the locks.