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Finish Line's roots began in 1976, when three friends wanted to create a store with the latest and greatest styles of athletic footwear. Alan Cohen, David Klapper and John Domont-all runners themselves-came up with a concept to bring athletic footwear to Indianapolis. However, they quickly discovered their idea already existed in the form of The Athlete's Foot (TAF). The threesome decided to purchase the franchise rights for TAF in the state of Indiana and the greater Louisville, Kentucky area. They opened the doors of TAF in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana in 1976.

In the beginning, Cohen practiced law and was involved on a part-time basis; Domont was a silent partner while Klapper ran the day to day business. By 1981, Cohen left his law practice and came into the business full-time. They had opened 12 TAF stores in Indiana and Louisville, but they wanted to continue to grow the business. However, all of TAF franchise rights had been sold by that time. Fortunately, there was no provision in their agreement as a TAF franchisee that prevented the threesome from opening a competing concept. That's how Finish Line was born.

CEO Magazine - The Finish Line Boys Finish Line Store

Early in 1982, Cohen, Klapper and Domont asked two others to join them as they expanded their business. Larry Sablosky, a friend from Indianapolis with a background in retail, along with Dave Fagin, their Puma sales rep at the time, both signed on as partners. The five owners opened their first Finish Line store on July 2, 1982.

As the line between the two concepts began to blur, the franchise rights for TAF expired. In 1986, all TAF stores were converted to Finish Line stores. By 1991, the company had grown to 105 stores located primarily in Midwestern and Southeastern states with annual sales of nearly $100 million. In order to expand Finish Line's presence nationally and to eliminate some of the personal financial risk, Cohen, Klapper, Sablosky and Fagin took the company public in 1992 (Domont opted to be bought out before the public offering).

In 1996, the company had grown to 220 stores and $300 million in sales, and Finish Line made two secondary public offerings. At this time, Fagin elected to retire. While the three remaining founders continued to concentrate on store growth, they also began to focus on the online channel. In July of 1999, www.finishline.com recorded its first sales with the online business doubling each year until 2004. At the end of Fiscal Year 2004, Finish Line had over 500 stores and just under one billion dollars in sales. It would be another year before Finish Line hit the billion-dollar milestone for the first time.


Shoe Wall Finish Line Store

Cohen, Klapper and Sablosky continued to find new ways to grow their company. In January 2005, The Finish Line, Inc. acquired Man Alive, a regional men's and women's street fashion apparel chain with 37 stores in nine states.

Breaking ground on corporate offices in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Finish Line continued to grow, adding new stores across the United States in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In 2008, the company appointed Glenn Lyon, chief executive officer (CEO) and Steve Schneider as the Finish Line�s president and chief operating officer. Alan Cohen, former CEO retired from the business. Under the leadership of Lyon, Schneider and a seasoned management team, the Finish Line has continued to operate the business in the prudent manner established by the company�s founders. By 2009, the Finish Line operated more than 700 retail stores. Changing fashion preferences and adjustments to the company�s strategy also lead the Finish Line to exit the Man Alive business in 2009.

In 2010, Finish Line continued to strengthen its balance sheet. Former Chairman Alan Cohen retired from Finish Line's Board of Directors. Lyon assumed the role of Chairman while maintaining his position as the company's Chief Executive Officer. Sam Sato, formerly the company�s Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, was promoted to President and Chief Merchandising Officer. Sato, along with Schneider, began managing the company�s day-to-day operations while Lyon sharpened his focus on the long-term growth of the business.

With a strong balance sheet and a fresh strategic vision for the company's operations, Finish Line is positioned for long-term profitable growth in 2010 and beyond.


1976 - First store
1981 - First Finish Line Stores
1991 - 100 open stores
1992 - Finish Line goes public
1995 - 200 open stores
1997 - 300 open stores
1998 - Youth Foundation launched
1999 - First online sales / 400 open stores
2002 - Second largest athletic specialty retailer with over 460 stores
Open NASDAQ Exchange / 500 open stores
2005 - $1 billion in sales / 600 open stores
2008 - Glenn Lyon appointed CEO / Steve Schneider appointed President / Co-Founder & CEO Alan Cohen retires as CEO 2009 - Finish Line exits Man Alive business
2010 - Glenn Lyon Appointed Chairman / Former Chairman Alan Cohen Retires from Board / Sam Sato Appointed President and Chief Marketing Officer