Footwear store steps up, trail-blazing new horizons

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Tarawera Ultramarathon organiser Paul Charteris and owner Matt Fraser outside Podium's new Rotorua store. Photo / Kylie Day Photography
Tarawera Ultramarathon organiser Paul Charteris and owner Matt Fraser outside Podium's new Rotorua store. Photo / Kylie Day Photography

Podium Podiatry & Footwear was set up three years ago by owner Matt Fraser, who is based in Whakatane.

The first outlet opened in the Bayfair Mall, Tauranga, followed by shops in Whakatane and Bethlehem, with the most recent opening in Rotorua in June.

"We've had our foot in the door in Rotorua for a while and have been involved with the off-road running community," said Podium communications manager Sophie Jaggs.

The company recently took sponsorship naming rights to Rotorua's Ekiden relay, has been active with other events, and works closely with Tarawera Ultramarathon organiser Paul Charteris on events and competitions.

Mr Charteris said there was a strong underlying message that trailrunning was good for business.

"Podium is an incredible asset for us," he said.

"For an events business like ours, it helps give us a public retail face and gives us a chance to be a lot more front and centre."

Ms Jaggs said growing demand was the reason for opening in Rotorua.

"We found a lot of people we talked to would come to our Bayfair shop to buy their shoes because there wasn't the specific trailrunning shoe brand available in Rotorua."

The stores have a combined footwear and podiatry offering, which grew out of the fact that Fraser's wife Erin Beeler is a podiatrist. She currently sits on the boards of the Eastern Bay of Plenty Primary Health Alliance and the Podiatrists Board of New Zealand. Ms Beeler is fully involved in the business and each outlet has a podiatrist on site six days of the week.

"We wanted to make podiatry services more accessible and affordable," said Mr Fraser.

"We want to keep people on their feet and offer free video and an expert fitting service to help reduce the risk of injury and maximise comfort."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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