History in the Making: Dick Pond Athletics

Dick Pond Athletics, Inc., America’s Oldest Running Shoe Store, was founded by Richard Pond in his Glen Ellyn garage in August of 1969.  He began by selling Adidas and Puma running shoes to local runners at track, cross country, and road races participants from the trunk of his Chevy Malibu.  His ability to get shoes specifically designed for runners – an unheard of activity for most back in the day – was unique for those days.  His moto was, “Fast and reliable service.” 

Soon, his high school customers went off to run at colleges all over the USA and word spread.  His mail order business took off and exceeded his local business precipitating a move from the garage (and the living room, basement, and kitchen table) to a warehouse in Carol Stream with a small storefront attached.  The store was only open from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM because of the phone and meet/school visit business kept him so busy. 

Hedging his bets and hearing about the new tollway being built down the middle of DuPage County, he decided to open a second retail outlet in Lisle near the new I-355 (did you know that, in 1988, they had a running race down the middle of that highway before it opened?).  The Lisle store took off and exceeded the sales at the Carol Stream store.  Customers regularly drove from the South suburbs and Indiana to meet Dick, his staff, and his outstanding group of products for runners.

In January 1991, Dick contracted leukemia and after a 9-month battle passed away the day before his 54th birthday in September.  His wife, Lindy Pond, successfully took over the leadership role opening three more stores and, in the process, doubled the mail-order business.  Lindy retired in 2010 and the business is now operated by two of their three daughters, Samantha Senner and Kirsten Pond.

Store locations at present are Carol Stream, Lisle, St. Charles, Hoffman Estates, and Park Ridge, Illinois.  The company still fills hundreds of orders a week shipping throughout the country.  Dick Pond’s St. Charles location is a fitting place for a sporting goods store. Until the 1960s, there was no Rt. 31, and 2nd St. ended at the railroad tracks. The area was a quiet place at the end of the road. But over the years, a succession of boathouses had occupied the river bank directly east of this quiet little area. And those boathouses were just a small bit of the sporting activities that made St. Charles a nature-lover's dream in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And, speaking of the 19th century, at one time a windmill factory occupied the land where Dick Pond’s now sits. So, apparently, running ON the wind has been replaced by running WITH the wind!

In regard to staff: We hire seasoned runners, health-conscious friendly and energetic people and area athletes to service our customers.

We have seven different weekly running/walking groups that meet at our store.  They are designed to improve the health of individuals from the age of 6 and greater.  We have many seminars on an array of wellness topics ranging from nutrition, injury prevention, and proper running form. We are very involved sponsor of The Fox Valley Marathon – the biggest race within 50 miles that takes place on the third weekend of September.

Further details about our programs and services can be found at www.dickpondathletics.com