Podium Multisports - First Impressions

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I visited the new Podium Multisports store on Saturday, March 25 for their grand opening celebration. I'll visit again once they've been up and running a while, but wanted to share my initial impressions.

The store is on Zonolite Road, an odd, semi-industrial strip wedged between the high-priced real estate of Morningside and Emory/Druid Hills. It’s an area that popped up on the radar of foodies in 1998 when Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison opened their critically-acclaimed Flotaway CafĂ© on the street in a former industrial building. Since then the area has attracted studios, light industrial, creative firms and, most recently, the Quickshot Indoor Shooting Range (which is, hands-down, the best in the city).

Podium Multisports has done a great job of creating a warm, inviting retail space with a modern industrial vibe that jibes well with the neighborhood. Inside, the open ceilings, skylights, polished floors and maple wood fixtures combine to welcome shoppers and showcase (almost) everything a triathlete needs - swim gear, cycles and accessories, nutrition and clothing.

Perhaps owing to his experience as a bicycle fitter, owner Matt Cole chose to prominently feature the fitting area on an elevated platform. A large mirror gives cyclists a great view of their form and opens up the space. Behind the fitting area is a carpeted, two-tiered spin area facing a flat screen TV.

The store carries a nice array of gear, with one exception – running shoes. The only non-cycle shoes I saw were from Karhu, a Finnish brand that seems to be devoting a lot of marketing dollars to developing a presence in Atlanta (they were a sponsor of the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon). With so many great running stores in town – Phidippides, Big Peach, Fleet Feet - I think it’s a wise choice to leave shoes to the specialists and focus on what you know best.

The only sour note I encountered was service – I spent more than twenty minutes browsing in the store and was never approached by an employee. Some were talking to each other, some were chatting with other customers, but to be completely ignored was a bit of a turn-off. I even stood in front of the checkout desk for 2-3 minutes without so much as a “can I help you?” I’m willing to cut them some slack since the whole vibe felt like more of a party than a retail event, but it wasn’t a great first impression. I’ll visit again in a couple of weeks to see how their service stacks up to other multisports stores in town.

Overall, I’m excited about this new option for Atlanta-area triathletes. I expect cyclists who made a point of seeing Matt when they bought a bike from All3Sports to be a key part of their customer base, and it will be interesting to see if other multisport athletes will make this a stop on their never-ending search for that one piece of gear that will get them on the podium.

2 comments:

treadster March 28, 2011 at 7:04 AM  

Nice review. I'll sure they'll work out the kinks.

Lisa March 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM  

Thanks for this! And I like your comment about the running shoes missing.

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