In the News | Transports to close at end of May

If you’re a runner or swimmer in Piedmont, chances are you’ve set foot in Transports on College Avenue at one time or another. For more than 40 years, the store has served as the go-to shoe-shopping destination for runners of all levels. The store has also carried swimming gear for most of that time.

But in sad news for the local running and swimming community, Piedmonter Bev Nakashima announced in early April that she was retiring and closing the store at the end of May. Transports was originally founded by another Piedmonter, Kei Kodani, in 1982. Nakashima joined him in 1985 and eventually became the sole owner in 2018. For a time, she ran two outposts — the original store on College Avenue and a Berkeley location on Solano Avenue.

Nakashima reflected on has seen trends come and go through the years. Hoka shoes are hot right now, she said, and purchased not only by runners but many people who are on their feet all day. She recalls riding the “barefoot shoes” wave — Vibram FiveFingers in particular — for several years. She said perhaps the most unusual trend was the hype around the “Live Strong” Lance Armstrong bracelets when the cyclist was at the height of his popularity. “They only cost about a dollar but we sold out of them all the time,” she said.

Well-wishers flooded Nakashima’s Facebook account in early April when she announced her retirement. Clients and friends said personal service, friendly staff, and community kept them coming back. For many years, Transports would offer high school track and cross country teams free t-shirts and discounts on running shoes.

Nakashima told the Exedra on Friday that she was grateful for the community support through the years. “After 40 years, we’ve had generations of families come through our store,” she said. “The East Bay has been fantastic– it’s one of the few areas that supports small businesses. We could not have asked for a better location.”

Oaklandside profiles Nakashima and its history in an April 18 article HERE.

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