Just days ago, Nike reopened the doors to its first retail store, Blue Ribbon Sports (Nike's original name) in Santa Monica, California. The boutique was initially launched in January of 1967 by Nike's first official employee, Jeff Johnson, designed to be a gathering space for oddball athletes to discuss training, racing and sneakers.
"When it started, the running community was so strange and quite small," says Johnson. "Running has become a much more mainstream activity. But it's still individual. It all contributes to some aspect of your humanity."
"You're here to earn loyalty," Johnson added regarding BRS’s intent. "This breeds a mutual understanding and a human level of trust. It always starts with forming relationships."
While the opening of Blue Ribbon Sports largely influenced the growth of running in Southern California, as well as the jogging boom of the 1970s, the original BRS closed its doors in 1969. Since then, Nike has opened 45 Grand in New York, welcoming locals to rally around the city's diverse engagements in sport, culture and community, while Shaghai's On-Air Studio is another example of a location that supports local creative endeavors.
Nike's Blue Ribbon Sports at 3107 Pico in Santa Monica is now open to the public once again as of January 25.
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