Balega, a leading performance sock brand in the run and outdoor specialty markets, has awarded its annual Ubuntu Award for community service to Naperville Running Company of Naperville, Illinois. Balega presented its 2016 Ubuntu Award to store owners Kris Hartner and Susanna Gotsch at The 2016 Running Event (TRE) in Orlando, Florida on 1 December 2016.
“Kris, Susanna and everyone at Naperville Running prioritize community service and they are dedicated to putting service at the forefront of their overall company mission,” said Tanya Pictor, Vice President of Marketing at Implus Specialty [Balega]. “We are proud to honour them with this award for their clear passion and dedication to community.”
Since the inception of TRE, Balega has presented the Ubuntu Award annually to running specialty stores that ‘excel in community service and involvement’. Ubuntu originated in Africa and roughly translates to ‘human kindness’. The term, popularized by Nelson Mandela, translates as ‘I am a person through other people’. Balega adds that this means that only by banding together as a community and working together can we truly call ourselves human.
The Ubuntu Award recognizes thoughtful actions that have long lasting effects on the lives of people in local communities. Naperville Running Company received this award to acknowledge their establishment of an entrepreneurial program at North Central College this past year. Because of the help from Naperville Running Company and its donation of US$100,000 to launch the program, students at North Central College will now be able to receive start-up funding for an enterprise with social impact.
In addition, through the running store’s generosity, an academic program as part of North Central College’s Leadership, Ethics and Values department will offer a ‘Social Impact Entrepreneurship’ class this.
“The goal is building a program that supports students so that when they walk across the stage on graduation day, they have spent the past few years creating an actual operating business,” said Kris Hartner, owner of Naperville Running Company. “It’s hugely important to us and our future to give these students the tools they need to create a business with the Ubuntu spirit in mind.”
Additionally, Balega notes that Naperville Running Company’s team of 28 is known throughout their local community for their knowledge of the running industry and their enthusiasm and passion for helping customers. The store previously has been awarded top running store in the United States and Naperville Small Business of the Year.
“The awards ceremony at TRE is such an energizing event, and receiving the Ubuntu Award in recognition for our team’s commitment to our community in ways that go beyond running is simply amazing,” said Hartner. “With Balega’s integrity and the good work that they’re doing, it really makes each and every one of us in the specialty run industry look at our business and it motivates us to do better by reminding us about the importance of giving back to our community.”
As a leading performance sock brand in the run specialty market, Balega is a designer and manufacturer of technical performance socks and is part of the Implus family of brands. With a American-South African initiative, the company develops its product in both South Africa and North Carolina production facilities ‘utilizing the best performance yarns produced in the United States’.
Headquartered in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, Implus has evolved to become an innovative provider of footwear, outdoor and fitness accessories to its retail partners. Implus’ family of brands includes Sof Sole, Yaktrax, apara, Airplus, Sneaker Balls, Sof Comfort, Little Hotties, Perfect, TriggerPoint, ICETrekkers, FuelBelt, Harbinger and Balega. From insoles, socks and shoe care to seasonal accessories and fitness solutions, Implus distributes its brands to thousands of retail locations across the United States and worldwide.