I have been trying to keep my mouth shut with the new running store that has recently opened in Ocala, but that ends today. I have been personally attacked and defamed on Facebook by the stores owner and am now seeing him do things to try and hurt races that I have a hand in helping to put on.
As a bunch of people know I was working on bringing a running store to Ocala with a friend of mine from Jacksonville. We had the logo made, a location picked out, we were reaching out to the local runners, speaking with vendors, and we were working with the banks to find financing. As all this was happening I received a phone call from the owner of the store that opened last week (We’ll call him “Jack”). The phone call was a mixed bag, in one hand he said he beat us to the punch in getting a store and we might as well stop trying, and in the other he told me that I came highly recommended and would do well with all the people from Finish Line and Foot Locker that he had just recruited. He stated he was willing to pay $10 an hour and if I did good with his training I could maybe be given some management duties in the next year or two. I of course refused the offer as I think my knowledge, experience, connections, and education are more valuable than what I was being offered. Plus, I had already laid all the foundation needed for a newly open running store and they weren’t getting that free from me.
After the initial job offer things were fine, or so I thought. I was contacted by Jack with a request by him to come and take pictures at my Donut Run so that he could help promote his store. I told him that I was already taking picture for OcalaFit.com and that I didn’t want to steal from the potential site traffic. I did tell him he was more than welcome to come and promote his store, but that would require sponsorship money. This turned into an argument that lasted until 2:30 am
I was given the opportunity to put on one of Ocala’s oldest races and I jumped at it. The first day I started promoting it, “Jack” decided it was okay to promote a new competing race on the same post two hours later. I private messaged him and told him that I didn’t want to be a competitor that we should be working together to help promote races in the area. I did not believe that it was mere coincidence that he decided to promote a race mere hour after I started promoting mine.
I thought maybe by reaching out to him this way that maybe he would consider working with us and help make the race bigger. It just goes to reason that the more runners that show up the more potential customers he has. My thinking was that we could help promote and grow a race that has been around for over 30 years, having another similarly themed race dilutes both races.
In a similar time frame I posted details about the upcoming 4 Miler that was being put on by a race company from Inverness. This race has also been a staple in the community and was put on by one of the founding Ocala Running Club members for years before he passed away. All the while Jack is posting non-stop about a race in Gainesville. Shortly after my post not only did “Jack” reply to my posting, he also took it upon himself to promote another competing race only this time it would be on the same day. I was furious, I couldn’t understand why this guy didn’t want to help promote the existing running community. Suck it up, pay a few dollars in sponsorship money, and help build what we have!
This went on for a few weeks, me promoting this race, him promoting both his 2015 race and another race in Gainesville. Jack was completely uninterested in the 4 mile race until he got wind that some friends of mine stepped in with some sponsorship $$$ and would be coming down to promote the race and sell running shoes. The guy then lost it, by bashing me on FB and telling people that I was posing as the race director of said race…….What a joke!
The 4 miler was a huge success and a lot of people were happy with the deals they received that day. WIN-WIN-WIN!
Since the 4 miler I have kept my distance and my mouth shut in regards to Jack and his big plans. But for some reason he can’t let things go. He now is trying to sabotage the race that I am putting on in December by putting the wrong race registration link on every Facebook post dealing with the event. Normally I wouldn’t care as the link destination specifically tells people that they need to go to OcalaFit.com to register. The only problem is that I have had multiple calls regarding people’s inability to register at the link that Jack has been posting and when sent the correct registration link, Jack responds that he is a sponsor and OcalaFit has nothing to do with the registration. Say what you want about me, my plans, and my promotion, but sabotage my efforts for putting on this big race and we will have problems.
I needless to say, will not be supporting the new running store until they get with the program. WE DON’T NEED TO DISMANTLE THE EXISTING RUNNING COMMUNITY IN ORDER TO BUILD A GREAT ONE. WE NEED THE LOCAL SUPPORT OF THE ONLY RUNNING STORE IN THE COMMUNITY, UNTIL WE GET THERE SUPPORT I WILL NOT SHOW MINE.
This post is more out of frustration than anything else. I have been unemployed since July with no visible light at the end of the tunnel.
Where have I gone wrong?
I did as instructed in life, I got good grades in high school, I stayed out of trouble, I went to college, I got a degree, and I’ve met many different people in varying positions. I have participated in internships, I have worked for free, and I have even tried to create my own opportunities in life. I volunteer in the community, I help others when asked, and in everything I do I give my all.
Really though, something has to budge. I have applied to multiple jobs that I should be a shoe in for. Take for example the Entry Level Account Executive I applied for at an ad firm. The job listing advertised that it was a perfect position for new college graduates looking to gain experience in the industry. After the interview I was told I was unqualified for the position, as I had no experience in the CRM tools they use……….Something not taught in any college class.
How about the job selling shoes at Dicks Sporting Goods. I have a college degree, sales experience, and was a manager at a top 50 running specialty store. I really shouldn’t have to apply for a job like this, but I did. Did I get a call back? Hell no. How about an e-mail? Nope! Yet, they have employees on the floor called Running Specialists with PRs of 28 minutes in the 5k who can be quoted as saying that the Brooks Adrenaline is one of the worst selling shoes on the market……………Really?
How about the job as a sales rep for a vary well known compression company. I came highly recommended by the person who previously held the position, the one they begged to stay. Without even an interview, I was told I didn’t fit the mold they look for in an employee. The fact that I had experience in the market that they cater to was immaterial. Instead they wanted sharks. I was told that unless I had experience selling payment processing systems, employee uniforms, or fax and copy machines to businesses then I didn’t qualify to work for their company. Not sure how the ability to sell a fax machine relates to selling compression apparel to businesses in the sports industry.
I’m running short on places to apply. I have applied to places that don’t require a high school diploma, I have applied to places that do, I have applied to places that require experience that I possess and places that don’t require experience. I have applied to positions in the health industry, to positions in advertising and marketing, to positions in retail, and to positions in manufacturing. I have opened search to positions well out of the realm of my comfort zone. No bites, no nibbles, no nothing.
I keep being told to be patient, that my big break will come. I keep doing things for free hoping that eventually it will pay off in the long run. Unfortunately patience doesn’t pay rent, car payments, or health insurance. I’m tired of working for free, and not being able to do anything. I’m tired of calculating whether it’ll be this month, or the next, that my bank account will finally run dry. I’m tired of listening to everyone version of sunshine while I am standing here in the dark.
Sorry for all the bitching, but really I am ready for a break. I have done so much to set myself up for success that doesn’t seem to be coming.
Earlier this month I decided to create a web site called OcalaFit.com. My hopes is to make a one stop shop for Ocala residents who are concerned with health and fitness. Currently I have a blog, a business directory, and an event calendar with many other features in the works. Make sure to check out OcalaFit.com for all of your Ocala Fitness or Health related needs.
Dear Winn Dixie,
I am disturbed by a recent experience I had in one of your Ocala locations. I was in the store to purchase some items for dinner which included a bottle of wine. Upon check out I was asked to furnish an ID. I was happy to do so and the cashier swiped it through the system. I was a little irked, however, that she did not do the same thing to the person ahead of me who was purchasing a carton of cigarettes. Although I believe the women was of age to purchase tobacco, I think this is a very dangerous practice.
Marion county currently has a rate of underage smokers that is higher than the state average (14.8 vs 10.1) Tobacco us is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and devastates families with its affects. We recently lost my grandfather due to causes related to years of tobacco use, and my grandmother is lost without him. I only tell you about my grandfather because I want you to see that products you sell directly impact your customers.
With all that has been said I am not asking for you to stop selling these products, it would be great but is very unrealistic. I am asking you to change you policy regarding tobacco sales and require an ID for every purchase. As one of the top grocers in our area I think a strict tobacco policy would help influence other retailers and possibly help prevent youth tobacco use.