Diadora Eyes Running Market Run specialty is a key part of the brand’s strategy.
iadora, the venerable Italian footwear brand, is back in the American market, with run specialty as a central part of its strategy. This fall Diadora will deliver its first collection of performance running shoes in five years to 15 top running stores in the United States. And in January, the firm will expand that number to 100. The company says these are the first steps in a plan to grow the brand in the American market and represents its first major foray in the U.S. since 2009 when Diadora was purchased by an Italian investment company owned by Mario Moretti Polegato, the founder and chairman of Geox, the $1 billion comfort footwear brand. That strong financial backing enables the company to take a long- term view on the business and pursue a strategy that will support specialty retailers. “We fully realize that run specialty retailers build brands today through the in-store experience they offer, and we want to make it easy for them to do that with Diadora and reward them for that support” says Bryan Poerner, the
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Back School BY DANIEL P. SMITH
College town-based running shops dish on life in a universitycentered environment
From Bozeman, MT, and Lincoln, NE, to Manhattan, KS, Fayetteville, AR, and Ann Arbor, MI, many running stores have set down roots in college towns across the U.S. Five such retailers discuss the perks and peculiarities of operating a running shop in a college town.
Lincoln Running Company
Lincoln, NE 26,000-students / University of Nebraska
Getting the job done at Lincoln Running Company.
A convener: The University of Nebraska, located across the street from the 41-year-old, family-owned Lincoln Running Company (LRC), regularly hosts out-of-town visitors, from conferences and camps to each summer’s 10,000-participant International Thespian Festival. “People are coming to town and shopping around is often part of their travel experience,” LRC manager Ann Ringlein says. Progressive thinking: LRC’s college town residency, Ringlein says, provides the store license to be unconventional and quirky. To wit: the store will host a mid-day solar eclipse run on Aug. 21. Drawing young professionals: While Ringlein says undergrads are not the store’s bread-and-butter, the university’s presence, specifically professional schools like law and dentistry, and the emergent startup scene it’s © 2017 Formula4media LLC.
Back To School (continued)
Left to right: Athens Running Company, Pacesetter Sports and Manhattan Running Company.
As a store that is authentic and validated, we can work with folks who want to get fit and stay healthy.” BRENT COMPTON, PACESETTER SPORTS
Game days are an opportunity for people to see we’re here and make a mental note of it.” ANN RINGLEIN, LINCOLN RUNNING CO.
helped spark (Lincoln has earned the moniker the Silicon Prairie) entice many young professionals to stick around. “And a lot of young people like to be fit,” Ringlein says. Dead days: The store maintains a love-hate relationship with football Saturdays when home games make Memorial Stadium Nebraska’s third-largest city and thousands pass by LRC’s downtown storefront. “Game days are an opportunity for people to see we’re here and make a mental note of it,” Ringlein says, “but you can also ride a bike through our store after kickoff we’re so dead.” Athens Running Company
Athens, GA 36,000-students / University of Georgia Undeniable stability: While economic cycles are inevitable, Athens Running Company owner Mark Schroeder says towns with a major, publicly funded university can be somewhat insulated from such turmoil. “A corporate headquarters can pick up and move, but a college isn’t going to do that,” he says. “The college will always be here and that security is appealing.” Seasonality: Intuitively, one would think college town running shops endure seasonal swings, particularly slow summers and quiet Decembers. Not necessarily so, Schroeder says. His month-to-month sales, in fact, are within 10 percent of each other. “Now, the bars and restaurants,” he notes, “they’re dead four months of the year.” Youthful energy: College towns are packed with enthused, on-the-go youth and that creates an energized atmosphere. “So even if you’re not making money on the college kids, their presence brings an energy to the town that inspires people to get out and be active,” Schroeder says. Unique opportunities: Schroeder has been able to
work with the University of Georgia’s exercise science program to connect customers to different research opportunities. “And that’s pretty cool for folks who nerd out on fitness stuff,” he says. Pacesetter Sports
Terre Haute, IN 13,500-students / Indiana State University Credible employees: Over the years, Pacesetter has employed many runners from Indiana State (ISU) as well as Terre Haute’s two private colleges, Rose-Hulman and St. Mary of the Woods. “This gives us an authentic running store employee,” says current Pacesetter owner Brent Compton, who began working at the store during his undergraduate years at ISU some 25 years ago. Access to excitement: Since 2002, ISU and Terre Haute have hosted the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships 12 times. That has raised the profile of running in and around Terre Haute, spurring the creation of new trail systems, extensive expansion of the local running club and the launch of two junior track clubs. “The effect of hosting Nationals has been massive and something Terre Haute wouldn’t have likely accomplished without Indiana State,” Compton says. An educated populace: College towns, Compton says, feature an abundance of students, professors and workers all educated on the importance of health. “And as a store that’s authentic and validated, we can work with these folks who want to get fit and stay healthy,” he says. Change is the only certainty: Pacesetter’s biggest and most persistent challenge is reaching a transient population, which includes students who come and go each year as well as faculty and staff members climbing the professional ladder. “You can’t take your eye off the ball and need to be reaching out constantly to let people know you’re here,” Compton says. © 2017 Formula4media LLC.
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Back to School (continued)
When you win their loyalty, they hold on tight with both hands.” MIKE RUSH, RUSH RUNNING COMPANY
It’s actually much easier to get the word out and find your market because things aren’t as crowded.” BEN SIGLE MANHATTAN RUNNING COMPANY
Rush Running Company
Manhattan Running Company
Fayetteville, AR 27,000-students / University of Arkansas
Manhattan, KS 25,000-students / Kansas State University
Fervent following: With no pro teams in Arkansas, the Razorbacks are everybody’s team. As such, those connected to UA like Rush Running Company owner Mike Rush, a former Razorbacks harrier like his wife and business partner, Alison, enjoy an edge in the local marketplace. “There are many diehard Hogs fans and when you win their loyalty, they hold on tight with both hands,” says Rush, who has two additional Arkansas-based stores – one in Bentonville (Walmart’s world headquarters) and a second in Rogers. Eager employees: About half of Rush Running’s Fayetteville staff are college students and Rush appreciates the energy they bring. “They are young, yes, but they’ll bust their butts over a task,” he says, adding that he’ll leverage talented students to help with store tasks, such as marketing and graphic design. Community ambassadors: Better yet, Rush says, his college-student staff are infiltrated in groups across campus, promoting the store among Greek life, clubs and with classmates. Rush Running has also sponsored the UA Triathlon Club in recent years, which provides Rush Running even more oncampus voices. Intergenerational mix: Fayetteville blends older, established local residents with the fresh, young vibe of college students. “And those vastly different perspectives keep things fun,” Rush says.
A professional crowd: A college town hosts a number of university-employed folks squarely in the middle to upper middle class demographic. “And that means more disposable income,” says Ben Sigle, a Manhattan native and former Oklahoma State runner who opened the Manhattan Running Company (MRC) in 2008 with longtime pal, Trey Vernon. Another captive audience: Manhattan also includes the Fort Riley military base and Sigle credits that operation with bringing more direct business to the MRC than the university. Rising above: In a college town, Sigle says, there isn’t as much competition for traffic and attention. “It’s actually much easier to get the word out and find your market because things aren’t as crowded,” he says. The local shopping destination: Sigle lives about 10 miles from the store, which takes him all of “15-16 minutes” to drive door to door. In a larger market, even a mid-sized one like Omaha, NE, where Sigle opened and operated Red Dirt Running before selling the business to a partner, that same 10-mile journey can easily run 30 minutes and also place one in a completely different retail environment. “People from a pretty wide area are accustomed to coming to Manhattan to get their shopping done,” Sigle says. n
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BRAND PROFILE BY BOB MCGEE
The Shape of Things to Come “We talk a lot about performance in terms of runners and triathletes, but shape underneath the foot is not limited to it.”
1. Superfeet FitStation, a scanning system for select retailers; 2. Sleek ME3D insole packaging from Superfeet; 3. Superfeet ME3D insole.
oncerned about the shape underneath people’s feet for the past 40 years, employee-owned Superfeet is intent on taking the experience to another level. The Ferndale, WA, company, which began as the sports division of Northwest Podiatric in 1977, is introducing custom 3D printed insoles in seven independent running shops this summer. The concept is expected to be expanded into other footwear channels over time as Superfeet management sees it “as a product for everyone.” A scanning system called “FitStation” will enable customers of nine retailers – Fairhaven Runners (WA), Naperville (IL) Running, Gazelle Sports (MI), Santa Cruz Running (CA), Red Coyote (OK), Up and Running (Dayton, OH), Big Peach Running (Alpharetta, GA) and Potomac Running (Washington, 12
DC) – to get their feet scanned in-store, go through a quick analysis on the spot and generate a file that can customize unique insoles for the left and right foot separately. The target retail price for this customized Superfeet ride will be approximately $150, with the ME3D insoles delivered directly to the customer or shipped to store for trimming and a fitting by store personnel. “(Insole) Shape is essential. When you’re putting the forces that a runner puts on his or her feet, it allows them to do it longer, longer without injury and ultimately be more comfortable,” says Eric Hayes, Superfeet’s chief marketing officer. “When we look at athletic shoes, the ability to provide that proper underfoot support, shape and biomechanical principles haven’t changed, but our ability to deliver it has.” When Superfeet, led by president and CEO John Rauvola since 2013, wanted to take its insole shape message to another © 2017 Formula4media LLC.
Abbott Health & Fitness Expo October 6-7, 2017
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The Shape of Things to Come (continued)
Podcast: Listen to an interview with Superfeet’s Eric Hayes at sportsinsightextra.com/podcast.html
level with the game-changing 3D printing technology, it turned to Jabil, a global manufacturing services company based in St. Petersburg, FL, and software firm Radius. Jabil provided its specialized knowledge in traditional and additive manufacturing to streamline the introduction of 3D printing and improve warehousing and supply chain. Radius, using its digital prototyping capabilities, generated 40 prototypes in four months during the development cycle. “We talk a lot about performance in terms of runners and triathletes, but shape underneath the foot is not limited to it,” says Hayes, citing testimonials the company has received ranging from grandmothers to elite Olympians. “Shape underneath the foot and the comfort and injury prevention that comes from that is universal.” While the 3D printed insole project has consumed the Superfeet team for much of the past year, the company has undertaken a number of other growth initiatives. These
include further buildout of the senior management team and entering the shoe business, first with sandals in 2016 followed by closed toe footwear this year. In May, Superfeet hired former 15-year Pearl Izumi veteran Chuck Sanson as its director of business development to create strategies and growth initiatives for its digital products. He joins a team that, besides industry veteran Rauvola and Hayes, includes Dave Howard, COO, and Mike Houser, VP–U.S. sales. Initially, Superfeet’s footwear offerings, ranging in retail price from $60-130, will be with core retail partners. But eventually distribution will be expanded. Hayes describes the products – six sandals and 12 shoes – as “built from the inside out” with a development focus on the foundational shape underneath the wearer’s foot before wrapping the upper materials around that shape. The shoes are sourced in China, but approximately 40 percent of their insoles are produced in Ferndale. n
Roll to Recovery 14
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The Launch of Motiv Running
otiv Running, which owns 25 races around the country, has launched a new running and fitness focused digital media platform, MotivRunning.com. Founder Chris Colón says the goal of MotivRunning.com, which will be overseen by former Competitor editor Brian Metzler, is to provide runners of all levels with connection and information to be fit and live a healthy, active lifestyle. “This is a way for our races to stay relevant with runners 365 days a year and for our sponsors to tell their stories throughout the year in addition to the five minutes when runners stop by their tents at an event,” says Colón. MotivRunning.com features original content about running culture, reliable service articles and compelling videos that Colón says will “bring to life the voices and stories of the sport.” “We’re creating a leadingedge digital platform that will serve runners of all ages and abilities, both on a national and local basis,” Metzler says. “Our goal is to provide reliable training, gear and injury-prevention content, as well as innovative content that entertains and inspires novice, intermediate and advanced runners.” Among the notable journalists joining Metzler in contributing to the editorial mix at MotivRunning.com are Mario Fraioli, Matt Hart, Lisa Jhung, Adam Chase, Susan Lacke, Allison Pattillo and Matt Fitzgerald. Supporting this team are athletes and personalities
from the sport who will contribute as guest authors and columnists, including Kara Goucher, Nick Symmonds, Alexi Pappas, Kilian Jornet, Desi Linden and Joe Gray. Motiv was founded in 2015 by Colón and now owns more than 25 running races and triathlons, including: JetBlue Long Beach Marathon, Surf City M arathon & Half Marathon, Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, Portland Shamrock Run and The Philly Love Run. Colón says Motiv Running’s key differentiator is focusing on and growing the elements that make these local events so appealing and unique. “We do the opposite of what most companies do when they acquire races, which is to buy a great event and re-brand it,” Colón tells Running Insight. “We keep the names of the events and try and keep the race directors too by offering them shares in the company.” Colón believes Motiv-owned events will continue to be led by this approach of maintaining the race brands that are woven into the fabric of their respective communities. “Our aim is to maintain and cultivate our roots in the running world,” Colón says. “We have assembled an expert team of passionate people who have been in the running industry for a long time. With their knowledge of the global running scene combined with a focus on local events, our goal is to improve the runner experience and help runners connect both digitally and at our live events.” n
RUN THE WAY YOU WERE BORN TO RUN
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Running Shorts one-of-a-kind designs that are inspired by the park they celebrate.
OOFOS Partners with The Dyrt, Xterra and Camelbak’s Pursuit Series
Recovery footwear brand OOFOS announced multiple partnerships making the brand the official recovery shoe of The Dyrt, Xterra and Camelbak’s Pursuit Series. OOFOS will be sponsoring a variety of events and activations throughout the year. The brand is a presenting sponsor of the Xterra Pan-Am Tour, appearing at each of the five championship events across the U.S. in 2017. OOFOS will also be sponsoring Camelbak’s inaugural Pursuit Series, hosting an evening for “recovery and mOOsic” by the campfire on the final night for attendees, including a special acknowledgement of inspirational actions across the weekend. OOFOS has also partnered with The Dyrt, the fastest growing camping app on web and mobile. The brand is sponsoring their campground review leaderboards, offering prizes and encouraging
Saucony Sales Are Up
Brooks Cascadia 12 Great Smoky Mountains National Park Shoe
consumers to get outdoors, explore and share their camping experiences. Brooks Launches National Parks Collection of Limited-Edition Footwear and Apparel
Brooks Running Company is launching a new National Parks Collection of footwear and apparel at REI to celebrate the parks that runners love to explore, and to inspire them to get out and enjoy outdoor spaces. The Brooks National Parks Collection is on sale now in stores and online at REI.com; footwear will retail for $130 and shirts for $34. As part of Brooks’ ongoing investment into the places where people
run, the company is donating 5 percent of the wholesale cost of every National Parks Collection pair of shoes and T-shirt purchased to the National Park Foundation to help support its mission, aiming to conserve outdoor spaces for use and enjoyment today and for future generations. The Brooks National Parks Collection includes a series of limited-edition Cascadia 12 trail running shoes and Brooks technical running shirts that celebrate national parks across the U.S. Each shoe is stamped with its own unique national park crest and is designed in colors representative of the park. Accompanying shirts feature
Parent company Wolverine Worldwide reported that Saucony, whose sales rose slightly in the second quarter ended July 1, were up high teens in both ecommerce and international on product innovations such as the Freedom ISO and new Ride 10. The brand is slated to introduce new Triumph and Hurricane models, both with full-length EVERUN cushioning, and the Liberty ISO and Liteform Feel, over the next several months. ASICS Partners with SIX:02 on Women’s Line
ASICS is partnering with Foot Locker’s women’s concept SIX:02 on an exclusive collection of athletic-wear, The New Strong Collection. Designed as “gym to street” wear, the collection fuses ASICS legacy technology with fashion forward street style.
HOTEL SCAM ALERT THE RUNNING EVENT ® DOES NOT AUTHORIZE ANY THIRD PARTY HOTEL BOOKING COMPANIES TO USE OUR TRADEMARK.
Each year unofficial housing companies attempt to take advantage of our show participants. Do not be fooled by unofficial housing companies soliciting your housing business claiming to be from The Running Event. They do not have access to our room block. Often times our exhibitors who purchase rooms through these companies arrive and have no room available, no way of recovering the charges to them and have put their personal information at risk. 18
The Running Event (TRE) will not call you for hotel bookings, and we will only contact you via email to direct you to our website. TRE will provide all the information with direct links on our website once registration opens. www.therunningevent.com Please contact Christina Henderson for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org • 516-305-4712
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FOR MORE ABOUT I MOVE ME, VISIT ... asics.com/imoveme
Running Shorts (continued) This is the first-ever women’s specific collection from ASICS, featuring a new look and style but with the same ASICS DNA of performance. In partnership with SIX:02, ASICS worked to create this collection just for them. The New Strong Collection is available online at www.ASICS.com, www. SIX02.com, and select ASICS and SIX:02 stores as of August 14th. ASICS Kicks Off Brand Campaign in London
ASICS has unveiled a new global brand message, identity, retail concept and integrated brand activation. The refresh kicked off in London.
The brand’s goal with the campaign is to communicate a “contemporary expression of its founding vision and philosophy to a new generation of consumer; to bring people together and inspire them to be healthy, happy and energized through sport.”
The new brand identity, developed in conjunction with Bruce Mau Design, is the most significant brand refresh ASICS has undertaken since the introduction of the ASICS Spiral logo in 1992. The hero brand message, I MOVE ME, taps into ASICS 70-year
philosophy of the correlation between a sound mind and a sound body. The I MOVE ME creative, developed by Saatchi & Saatchi L.A., was unveiled in London coinciding with the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships. The creative is also being be rolled out internationally. The visuals and social content feature real people who demonstrate the positive impact movement has on their lives. To find out more about I MOVE ME, visit asics.com/ imoveme or follow #IMoveMe on social channels. n
© 2017 Formula4media LLC.
Insta Sneak Peeks
Snapshots of product that our editors have been showcasing on Instagram while on the tradeshow trail.
The Cor style from@topoathletic is the brand’s first entry into the gym category in 2 years. The $90 style for men and women features a lateral wrap for foot stability and a zero-drop platform, and delivers in February. #orsm17 #ultrarunning instagram.com/p/BXEjGl8DVRu
@brooksrunning took inspiration from the Bauhaus movement to make their new Spring ’18 alphabet graphic. Can you read the message? #trend #running #apparel
@altrarunning is embracing the casual side for Spring ’18 with the $130 leather Desert Boot II and the $140 Commute Boot in wool. Both men’s styles feature the brand’s signature ergonomic toe box and zero-drop construction, and use algae-based @bloomfoam in the insoles.
Travis Hildebrand of @salomonrunning walks us through the $180 S/Lab Sense Ultra 2 ultrarun style. #orsm #outdoorretailer #trends #orsm17#ultrarunning #fitness #footwear #running #salomon instagram.com/p/BXGcQ0dA4ij
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THE RUNNING EVENT 2017
THE CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW FOR RUNNING RETAILERS
NOVEMBER 28- DECEMBER 1, 2017 AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER Exhibitor & Sponsorship Information: Troy Leonard: email@example.com 352-624-1561
4 DAYS OF IDEAS, STRATEGIES AND TACTICS TO KEEP YOU COMPETITIVE LEARN BEST PRACTICES FROM THE TOP RETAILERS IN THE BUSINESS VISIT MORE THAN 250 BRANDS AT THE TRE TRADE SHOW THERUNNINGEVENT.COM