It has been almost 30 years since Chris Lampen-Crowell set out with Bruce Johnson to co-found a running and fitness goods company. Now the company has grown to three Gazelle Sports stores, Team Gazelle, a New Balance store, and recently achieved certification as a Benefit Corporation (B Corp).
“We really just wanted to build friendships and a place that people could come and trust with their running and fitness needs,” said Lampen-Crowell. “We started in Kalamazoo and only saw that far. We wanted to impact Kalamazoo. We grew there and had success. Our model is much more hands-on customer care, relationship based, and building a community. It’s more than just walking into one of our many competitors stores who just sell product.”
From the very beginning, triple-bottom line, social impact and environmental sustainability were important to Lampen-Crowell and his partners, but he didn’t know about B Corps until Local First
hosted the BALLE
annual conference in Grand Rapids in 2012.