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2024 Power 100: Stephen Genatossio

A group of men and women in light green shirts sitting on and standing in front of a green truck. Photo | Courtesy of Sneakerama Stephen Genatossio (left of center, wearing black shorts) has cultivated a passionate community of runners with his small business.
Stephen Genatossio Title Owner Company Sneakerama, in Worcester Employees 12 Residence Holden College UMass Boston Read all the Power 100 profiles here
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Stephen Genatossio not only talks the talk, he walks the walk, in sneakers.

Sneakerama was founded with his father in 1978 in a small storefront in Webster Square. The business relocated to Lake Avenue more than 20 years ago and has grown to be one of New England’s largest independent running shoe stores, with an impassioned community of runners and patrons who regularly come to Worcester for its frequent events and camaraderie.

A runner himself and a champion of the sport, Genatossio through Sneakerama supports nearly every charity running event in Central Massachusetts, including the Guinness Celtic 5K on St. Patrick's Day, Worcester FireFighters 6K, Canal Diggers Road Race, and Shrewsbury’s Turkey Trot For the Memory.

Every week, rain or shine or snow, Sneakerama hosts the Thursday 5K/Fun Run, providing water, snacks, and reflective vests to the 70 to 100 participants. The event draws beginners as well as seasoned runners and is a great way for those new to the area to connect with a community.

Even with this community support, the coronavirus pandemic presented a challenge for Sneakerama. While more people were motivated to take up the sport to counter lockdowns and isolation, they turned to online retailers. But, like any trained marathoner, Genatossio was determined not to give up, and the family-run business persevered.

Even post-pandemic, the market remains highly competitive. The U.S. running shoe sector is a $15-billion industry. Genatossio said small local retailers can be successful if they commit to offering the best price, quality merchandise, and the kind of personal service one can’t find online.

“It can be profitable and rewarding if you're willing to work hard, keep your energy level up, and continually think of new ways to keep your customers coming back,” he said. 

Read all the Power 100 profiles here

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