Lesley McLin grew up as a cheerleader at Central High in Central, LA. After high school, she decided to enroll at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS on a cheerleading scholarship. She would end up walking on to the school’s cross country team her senior year, all because a friend told her that she couldn’t. Lesley is currently the proud owner of a Fleet Feet Sports Specialty Running Store in Jackson, MS. She recently shared with us the story of how this came about.
Claim Your Journey: How did you become an owner of a Fleet Feet Sports?
Lesley McLin: I met the original owner, Jeff Wells, of our current location at a race and he talked me into to coming in for a pair of shoes. From there, we became friends and started running together. Then one day he asked me if I wanted to come work for him over at Fleet Feet Sports. So, I went to work for him and I began to really like it.
CYJ: Before taking that position, did you have any experience in retail?
LM: I worked at Abercrombie & Fitch…That’s also the reason I was a little reluctant to work for Jeff. I was like…I don’t want to work retail, but I realized it was so much more than just retail.
CYJ: When and How did you become the owner of Fleet Feet Sports in the Jackson/Ridgeland, MS area?
LM: In August of 2006, Jeff was ready to move on from Jackson to Nashville. There was a store up there struggling and he wanted to help. His exact words to me were, “If I go to Nashville, will you take care of my baby?” meaning his store. To which I responded, “I hope so! If you think I can, I will.” So, he left and moved to Nashville as I remained the manager in Jackson. Fleet Feet has a pretty strict policy regarding absentee management. This led to us trying to find a way for me to become the owner.
CYJ: What’s it like being a store owner?
LM: It’s awesome most of the time. It’s also a little stressful considering I have 21 employees…keeping food on their table, but I love it! I arrange my work to live the type of life I want to live, not the other way around where I live to work. I have such a great staff! It’s exciting and fun. I really love hanging out with the customers and hearing their stories. The people side is my passion.
CYJ: How often do you get to run or race? Are you training for anything?
LM: Well, I’ve done seven marathons and two of them were “Bostons”. I really want to complete 10, but my spirit grew weary when I was injured during the Chicago marathon. I will say, I’m considering signing up for the Louisiana Marathon. We’ll see.