Then and now: a short history of Luke’s Locker
Luke's Locker is a Texas based family business owned by the Lucas family: Don, Sharon, Matt, Andy and Mike Lucas. The family oversees the operations of the company today.
Luke's Locker formed more than 35 years ago. It began out of need and entrepreneurial vision. When Don Lucas was working in Dallas during the late sixties, he was a member of a small but dedicated group of friends who ran together (running pioneers). They mostly ran during lunch on the weekdays and at White Rock Lake and the surrounding communities on the weekends. Occasionally, one of the members of the group would host a run at their house on the weekend (the birth of the organized, charitable run we all know today). Don and his group were on the front edge of the initial running boom. They were inspired by the likes of Frank Shorter, Steve Prefontain and Bill Rodgers. Their desire to run was not widely shared in the community (unlike today). They were considered somewhat strange by their peers because they ran. More, people did not relate to the benefits they grasped from running- the great improvement in quality of life that running and exercise enabled. This was the start of the first running boom.
During these early years, Don set out to find a source of running shoes. While today, thousands of different styles of running and walking shoes in the United States alone are for sale each day, only a handful of running shoes existed in 1970. And, there was no such thing as a specialty running store. Don found a company called Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) based in the Northwest that distributed a few brands of shoes (Nike, Onitsuka Tiger (now known as ASICS), and a few more. Don worked out a deal with BRS and began to buy shoes from them for his personal use. Naturally, his running friends inquired on where he got these and whether he could get them some. Don then began buying shoes from BRS, filling them up in the trunk of his car, and selling them to the Dallas running community. As the running community slowly grew, and as the space in Don’s car trunk was limited, shoes were stored in the garage of the Lucas’s house. The house (specifically, the living room) became a place where people came over and got fit for running shoes. Other types of shoes were eventually sold there. The regular demand for these shoes from Lucas house gave way to the desire to open a Luke’s Locker store.
Don and Sharon decided to open the first retail store as the demand for specialized running shoes and gear grew. The first Luke’s Locker opened at 4100 Oak Lawn in Dallas. The store was around 4,500 square feet. It offered the best running shoes offered at the time. It also carried workout gear, some sportswear, sport specific shoes (soccer, football, basketball, tennis, baseball), and a host of related accessories that included “Gatorgum” (sports gum). From the start, customer service and a friendly atmosphere were the top priorities. Shoes were individually fitted and advice was provided to help customers find the right shoe.
Hand in hand with the retail effort, Don and Sharon were part of the community that started running events in Dallas. These included the Dallas Turkey Trot (currently one of the largest road races in Texas) and many road races at White Rock Lake. Community involvement and growing awareness and participation for exercise are a fundamental drive that Luke’s has always lead.
Over time, the demand continued to grow for running and fitness gear. A bigger Dallas store followed, and the original store was moved up the street to its current location at 3046 Mockingbird Lane.
Over 20 years ago, a Fort Worth store started. Luke’s worked hard to establish strong ties and great service in the Fort Worth market. That has paid off. Today, the Luke’s Locker Fort Worth store on 7th street is one of Luke’s finest stores.
Luke’s entered the Houston market over 10 years ago. Our Houston store is our second largest store. Luke’s is deeply involved in many of the best Houston events and training programs.
During the last 8 years, Luke’s has opened locations in Southlake, White Rock, The Woodlands, Plano, Katy and Austin. There are currently 11 Luke’s Locker stores in Texas. There is also a separately located central distribution warehouse and administrative office in Dallas.
Over its history, Luke’s has produced, directed and assisted with thousands of events. These range from the traditional 5k to marathons, half marathons, 10k’s and everything in between. Luke’s has a dedicated events team that is able to deliver all of the elements needed to produce a first class event. For example, in the Dallas/ Fort Worth metroplex area, Pat Cheshier of Luke’s Locker (former city of Dallas special events coordinator) handles all permitting and city coordination as well as manages a staff of 12 people who help with all of the events in this area.
Because Luke’s takes great care to associate its brand only with quality and excellence, we strive to follow this approach to selecting events:
1. The event must be interested in putting on a first class, well organized and entertaining set of activities.
2. The event is not looking to cut corners or omit critical steps that will likely determine the quality of the event.
3. Luke’s is able to dedicate the right level of resources to the event to fulfill its obligations and standard of work.
4. There isn’t any sponsor or other brand conflict associated with the event that will dilute the Luke’s brand.
5. The event promotes the Luke’s brand in a positive manner and allows Luke’s to promote its retail business in a meaningful way.
As an example of our event involvement, Luke’s has been the race director or co-race director for the following events over the last several years. We will be continuing these events in 2011.
Dallas Race for the Cure (over 25,000 participants)
Fort Worth Race for the Cure (close to 20,000 participants)
Memorial Park 4 for the park 4 miler in Houston (2,500 participants)
Michelob Ultra Katy 5k in Dallas (5,500 participants)
Friends of the River Run for the Trinity Trails in Fort Worth (2,500 participants)
10 for Texas 10 Miler in The Woodlands (2,000 participants)
The Rise & Shine 5k benefiting the Rise School of Dallas (2,000 participants)
Rise & Shine 5k benefiting the Rise School of Houston (2,000 participants)
Dallas Jingle Bell Run benefiting the Trinity Strand Trail in Dallas (6,000 participants)
Houston Turkey Trot (over 10,000 participants)
Fort Worth Turkey Trot (over 12,000 participants)
Sponsor and operational role in Dallas Turkey Trot (35,000 participants)
Sponsor and operational role in Woodlands Run through the Woods Thanksgiving day event (over 5,000 participants)
Sponsor and operational role in Katy Turkey Trot (over 3,000 participants)
Luke’s has supported as a major exhibitor the Dallas, Houston and Austin marathons.
Luke’s produces world class training programs for the major marathons across Texas and the United States. We also provide fantastic training programs for 5k and 10k participants looking to run or walk faster or just complete the distances. We train over 5,000 participants every year.
Luke’s produced the first ever run at Cowboy’s Stadium in 2010: a 5k and half marathon that drew over 5,000 participants.
Luke’s remains Texas based and privately owned by the Lucas family.
When Luke’s started, it was a pioneer and developed a unique brand. But the market place has changed a lot over the last 35 years. There are numerous choices today for running & fitness gear. And the information available to make your selections can be overwhelming. So why should you choose Luke’s today?
Luke’s delivers four values better than anyone else:
1. We offer the best performing products for the running & fitness consumer;
2. We provide superior service and product knowledge that is personal, and tailored to the individual;
3. Our stores atmospheres are warm, friendly and enjoyable; and
4. Luke’s spends an extraordinary amount of time and resources to provide the best training programs, events and overall community participation to advance health and wellness.
Luke’s Locker’s Mission is to grow the running & fitness population through fantastic retail and community efforts that inspire, advance, educate and entertain.
Luke’s is dedicated to providing consumers with the best values for the running & fitness community. We welcome the opportunity to serve you.