“If your faith is your motivation, share it.” ~Tim Kaine
Keith and Emily Davis, owners of Fleet Feet Sports, aren’t afraid to share their faith – but that hasn’t always been the case. After opening their first store in 2006, this Christian couple operated their business with Christian principles but weren’t overt about their beliefs. All that changed when Keith participated in a triathlon.
Emily shared, “Keith was so excited and empowered – much more than he typically was after finishing a race. He called me and told me about the praise and worship music playing at the finish line…. He was excited about the messages of faith found in his swag bag. Keith was ready to start doing the same kind of thing at Fleet Feet, but I was initially hesitant. However, after we joined River Oaks Church in Clemmons, my faith grew stronger, and I began to be bolder, too.”
“Over the years, our business has thrived. Our customers have told us they appreciated our stance and willingness to build Fleet Feet and sister-store, New Balance, on our Christian beliefs. And for three years, WBFJ listeners could listen to a daily devotion from me on the radio. Unfortunately, in 2021, corporate policies stopped me from promoting our faith through advertising. But while those devotions played, we had so much positive feedback.”
Even with some limitations in place, Emily has still found ways to be creatively bold – through an apparel line called “Eternal Apparel.” “I love a great, comfy shirt, and even more so – I love to design them with faith-based messages. My first wearable faith shirt was designed for a group of workout moms, and it said, ‘Jesus and Burpees Make My Day.’ I had extras made and sold them in the store. They were a huge hit.
“Since then,” Emily continued, “we’ve continued to produce shirts with powerful messages. ‘Faith Greater Than Fear,’ ‘Pray Wait Trust,’ ‘Breathe,’ ‘Counting Every Blessing,’ and ‘Running on a Prayer’ have been some popular favorites. In fact, Eternal Apparel is the fastest growing brand in the store.”
According to Emily, the appeal is simple. “People are encouraged by wearing their faith, and in doing so, they encourage others. It’s rare to wear a faith-based shirt out in public and not have someone stop to tell me they like it, ask where I got it, or tell me they appreciate the message. As I look back on the shirts I’ve designed, I can actually see my prayer life in front of me and those who have purchased those messages – it has meant a lot to share those meaningful words with them.
“Despite what the media reports about Christian values and beliefs, people are still holding strong to their faith. Those who are willing to wear their faith can speak a message from across a store, or in passing on a walking trail, or even from waving to their neighbor at the mailbox. It’s that simple. Faith-based apparel is a way to express worship every day of the week and encourage others to do the same! And God will bless bold faith.”
Emily has taken a great deal of time to source quality shirts and materials that are durable, soft, comfortable, and pre-shrunk so that they wear well and hold up to long-term use. “People love the fabric,” she said. “Beyond the powerful messages, these are really comfortable shirts.”
In addition to sharing the message of the Bible, the Eternal Apparel shirts have also helped fund various ministries that Emily and Keith support, including the YMCA e-Learning program and mission work in Kenya.
The Davises have a deep love for their church, the business, and the community. “We want others to understand that there is hope in God. We need to speak our faith. And we found that you can even wear it out loud.”
Fleet Feet Sports is located at 278 Harvey Street in Winston-Salem. Visit the store online at FleetFeetWinston-Salem.com or call 336.722.8477. Be sure to like Fleet Feet Winston-Salem on Facebook and follow them on Instagram. Eternal Apparel makes a great Mothers’ Day gift!