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Kennedys sell interests in running store chain

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Bob and Melina Kennedy have sold their assets in BlueMile, a chain of running and fitness stores they founded 12 years ago as The Running Co.

Cofounders Ashley and Andrea Johnson are now sole owners, Bob Kennedy told IBJ this morning. He declined to disclose terms, but said he's been discussing the buyout deal with the Johnsons "for months."

“We are very proud of our role in [the company’s] success,” Kennedy said in an e-mail. “But, as they say, ‘there comes a time,’ and our time has come to move on."

Bob Kennedy, 42, is a former NCAA champion and Olympian, and was a top U.S. middle distance runner in the 1990s. Melina Kennedy is a former Indianapolis deputy mayor under Bart Peterson and Democratic mayoral candidate who now works as director of executive communication at Columbus-based Cummins Inc.

Bob Kennedy said he is working on a new business idea but isn't ready to discuss it.

“I'm excited about a new idea and vision I'm working on right now," he said. "I'll have something to talk about in a couple of months. I can tell you it is in the running industry. I'm confident it's a viable idea."

BlueMile, which changed its name in 2010, started as a single Broad Ripple store.

The company opened stores in Fishers in 2004, Carmel in 2006, Greenwood in 2007 and Louisville—where it now has two stores—in 2010. BlueMile has about 50 employees.

With the exception of 2011, the company has seen annual revenue grow at a double-digit percentage clip over the last seven years. Sales this year are up more than 20 percent over the same period a year ago, Bob Kennedy said.

Bob Kennedy’s connections within the industry and especially with his former sponsor, Nike, initially helped the company grow. But over the years, the company became popular for its shoe-fitting services and overall running expertise, said Ken Long, who founded The Runner’s Forum store and now operates a running and fitness event-management company.

Ashley Johnson, 50, was an all-American runner at Western Kentucky University who spent a decade managing Portland Running Co. in Portland, Ore., and Marathon Sports in Boston before partnering with the Kennedys. Andrea, Ashley’s wife, worked in marketing for Nike and USA Track & Field before becoming  full-time marketing and community relations director for BlueMile in 2007.




 

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  • Congrats Ashley and Andrea!
    Congratulations to you Ashley and Andrea, and best of luck on future plans to the Kennedys! I have been a runner and cyclist for nearly 40 years, and you guys are absolutely the BEST when it comes to running gear. For people new to running and walking, make sure you try BlueMile for truly professional selection and sizing on running shoes. Best of luck to Bob K on his new venture, I look forward to hearing about it.

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