Louis Priddy’s love of pounding the pavement led him to found Running Factory II—the previous incarnation of Front Runner Athletics—in 1982. Over the next 15 years, the business blossomed until Louis changed its name and built a new 4,000-square-foot location to accommodate its expanded inventory of shoes and athletic apparel.
In 2001, Louis passed the reins to avid runner Chad Varga, who has carried on Priddy’s legacy by ensuring that his customers’ shoes not only fit on their feet but also accommodate runners’ individual arches and manner of jogging. To achieve this, Chad and his staff conduct free comprehensive gait analyses, guiding guests—who are often referred by local orthopedists and podiatrists—toward shoes that match their foot shapes and habits of running on the sidewalk, on a track, or on hot coals. The store’s wide range of men’s and women’s shoes from the likes of ASICS, Adidas, Mizuno, and New Balance help the experts find the ideal pair.
After spying his first electronic bike while teaching in China, owner Garnet Caldwell vowed to bring the unique and potentially revolutionary vehicles to his hometown. He told the Times Free Press, "These bikes are for people who just want to get out and ride," explaining that they can go about 20 miles before needing to be charged and, like a championship racewalker, can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
The bikes, available at the shop for rental or sale, come in all sizes and run off a battery that is recharged via a traditional wall outlet. Chattanooga Electric Bikes caries models from Ezip, Izip, Stromer, and Pedego, as well as conversion kits to help traditional two-wheelers to make the jump to electric. Certified technicians ensure bikes are held to the highest safety standards and don't become sentient, and they can service any brand of electric bicycle.
A team of cycling enthusiasts populates the staff of River City Bicycles, helping clients attain and maintain two-wheeled transportation. The shop specializes in sales and service of road, mountain, comfort, commuter, and children’s bikes, serving customers with a large inventory of products by top brands. The cyclery ensures a proper match between man and machine by performing a free custom fit before new bike purchases. In addition, new bike owners get a free initial tune-up to fix the stretched chains and loosened spokes that are common after the passionate first few weeks of bike ownership.
Leisure Time Dive & Ski Center helps adventurists plunge to new depths and soar down mountainsides at supersonic speeds. The facility stocks an extensive supply of scuba gear and skiing equipment, and makes items from both departments available to purchase or rent. Divers wanting to improve their craft can participate in a variety of different educational lessons, from a rescue diver course to the open-water training classes needed for PADI certification. Leisure Time also doubles as a full-service travel agency, and assists clients in planning exotic scuba diving and skiing vacations.
Whether, certifying scuba divers or teaching kids how to swim, Choo Choo Diving and Aquatic Center's small class sizes ensure students get the most out of their courses. Inexperienced divers enroll in the discover scuba class, and more advanced divers can get certifications to become open-water instructors. Meanwhile, at the swim school, kids as young as 6 months old splash in the pool with their parents, whereas older children are separated by age and experience level.
Since the instructors at Southeastern Divers's five-star PADI--certified training facility first set up shop in 1980, more than 5,000 of their aquatic pupils have obtained diving certifications. The certified scuba pros, each of whom has obtained a master diver trainer rating, or at least interned as a mermaid, continue to add to this number using their structured course flow. They help novice divers to take their first plunge during Discover Scuba programs and guide them toward the master-diver level. Along the way, instructors and pupils branch off from the course flow to try their rubber flippers in specialty programs such as wreck diving. Throughout all coursework, Southeastern Divers's staff can rent equipment or sell gear from brands such as Aqua Lung.