Niketown Is On A Mission

By Robert Balagtas
Wednesday - July 30, 2008
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Robert Balagtas

By Robert Balagtas
General Manager of Niketown Honolulu

Nike is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. It is one of the best-known brand names in the world, its “swoosh” logo readily recognizable, and Nike’s “Just do it” slogan iconic.

So being general manager of Niketown Honolulu comes with a lot of responsibility. Fortunately, I love my job, and working with a dedicated staff of great people who also live by the Nike mission makes it a privilege.

Nike’s mission is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike, says, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Opened in 1998 in the King Kalakaua Plaza on the ewa end of Waikiki, Niketown Honolulu is one of 12 Niketown stores in the nation and has attracted athletes of every kind. We cater to locals and visitors from all over the globe, and have also established strong ties with the local community through events throughout the year. Nike is a company committed to corporate responsibility. We live that commitment here every day, and believe this is one of the reasons for our success. We are not just a store, we are committed to the communities in which we live, and to making the world a better place.

We have several ongoing community activities. One is the Niketown Running Club. We hit the pavement every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 9 a.m. year-round, rain or shine. The group meets, stretches and runs or walks between five and seven miles - your choice, your pace. Then, socialize and enjoy post-run refreshments, compliments of Niketown. We have “regulars” who have been coming for years, and visitors who are familiar with Niketown’s Running Club join us for a safe and fun running experience. Our staff, including myself, joins the run. For more information, call 943-6453 or go to

Robert Balagtas, Kimberly MacKenzie, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Char Kahele, and Earl Matsushita
Robert Balagtas, Kimberly MacKenzie, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Char Kahele, and Earl Matsushita at the 2008 Nike Reuse-A-Shoe event

We also have our Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program, which is held at Niketown stores around the world. We collect people’s old athletic shoes (any brand) throughout the year as part of the program (, which recycles these shoes into sports and play fields that keep kids active. At Niketown Honolulu, we dedicate Earth Month to a special Nike Reuse-A-Shoe campaign, in partnership with Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the City and County of Honolulu. On the last Sunday of April, we sponsor a big event where schools, companies and individuals drop off their shoes to create a huge pile, which underscores the fact that these shoes will not be in our landfills. This year’s event collected 27,030 pairs of shoes! MidWeek and the Star-Bulletin have been our dedicated media partners from the start, along with Matson and Westpac International, which make sure the shoes are moved from Niketown Honolulu to the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe plant in Oregon.

Another popular community activity we have is the Niketown 5K for kids, scheduled for Sept. 21 here in Waikiki. This is part of Nike’s simple mission to get kids moving and give them the means to do it. Approximately 10,000 kids participate in the annual 3.1-mile run or walk, or the “Let Me Play” 1-mile event, and 100 percent of the entry fee is donated to the student’s school physical education, play or athletic program. The Nike 5K is family-friendly, so parents and children are encouraged to participate together.

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