It began in 1976 as a partnership between Cohen and Klapper for a ten-year franchise of Athlete’s Foot, an established sports footwear retailer (The Finish Line Inc.). Learning from the franchise experience, the partners opened their own line of sports footwear retail to compete with Athlete’s Foot by offering a wider variety of stocks displayed in bigger stores, as well as offering value brands and affordable lines well-suited in their store locations at less-expensive strip malls. The positioning proved effective as the next ten-years would see growth of the company by opening up more stores with bigger areas while ending the franchise with Athlete’s Foot. To support the growth, two more partners were brought in with sportswear retail experience: Larry Sablonsky and David Fagin (The Finish Line Inc.). The next 20 years saw the growth of the company by overtaking Athlete’s Foot and other competitors in the sports and active wear retail segment as well as becoming a publicly listed company whose shares continue to perform well within its segment.
Finish Line’s mission according to the website is to “connect to young, fashion conscious individuals through a premium brand environment offering the best selection of authentic, sport inspired products” (1). The company offers premium brands that provide dependable quality and leading styles in active wear. Finish Line categorizes its products into footwear and softgoods. As of 2009 annual report, 81% of net sales of Finish Line Inc. came from the footwear category (Lyon and Schneider 3). They carry brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, Jordan, Under Armour and New Balance along with sport style brands including Lacoste, Converse, Ed Hardy and Sperry. Softgoods category carries non-footwear products. Recent additions to the company’s line of products are offered through the Paiva store chain offering brands like Tella, McCartney, Brooks, Ellesse, etc., focusing on women