RiverPoint Village Shopping Center is getting two new stores - kind of.
Vita Fitness and Physical Therapy and The Athlete's Foot have changed ownership and shoppers will soon see new signs above each store front.
Eric Pilling is purchasing The Athlete's Foot from Jim Bronson, the same man who kept the store alive even after franchise filed for bankruptcy in 2004. But customers need not worry, Pilling said, because Jim really isn't going anywhere.
"He's been fitting people and doing it long enough that adults come in with their kids and he fitted them when they were small children so, he's a fixture in the shoe world in this area. So, he'll still be around, he just gets more flexibility," Pilling said.
The store will drop the franchise name and instead adopt "Andare Sports."
"It's an Italian word that means 'To go, to move' and we thought it just reflects the business," Pilling said. "Athlete's Foot is a recognizable name but it hasn't done us any favors. The connotation isn't specialty, and we've been a specialty store so we just wanted something that reflects our independent, local store."
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It's a similar story at the other end of the shopping center for Vita, which has just changed its name to Integra.
Jeff Konczal and Eric Bork split off from Vita, launching Integra Fitness and Physical Therapy. Konczal said clients won't see much of a change because the focus is still helping with diet, exercise, physical therapy and overall life changes toward a healthier approach. The difference is Konczal and Bork were looking to keep things local.
The 7,000 square foot store will still have all the same equipment, hours and staff, but the new company will push for deeper roots in the North Shore.
"We want to be grounded in this community. Integra wants to be synonymous with the North Shore, Fox Point, Bayside area," Bork said. "We've made this our home. We want to increase our presence in the community and do what we do and solidify this here. This really is our home."
Bork and Konczal say they have goals to work more on educating the community on things like injury prevention and hosting events like balance screens or talks on inury prevention for athletes and older adults.
The Fox Point Village Board approved the name change for both shops Tuesday night. Integra has already installed their new sign and Pilling said he expects the new Andare sign to be installed soon.