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Retailer Declares June as Stress-Free America Month; Organizes Protests Around Country

Heart to Sole / AHA Logos
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ATLANTA, May 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As evidence mounts supporting a link between stress, heart disease and a slew of other ailments, national footwear retailer Flip Flop Shops has stepped up to the plate with a campaign that declares June as Stress-Free America month with grassroots protests around the nation, fundraising for the American Heart Association (AHA) and a creative effort to convince corporate America to relax their workplace cultures.



As part of the campaign, companies are urged to sign an online pledge committing to establishing "Flip Flop Fridays" in their workplaces in June, and donating $2 to the AHA for every employee that wears flip flops each Friday throughout the month.

In addition, in partnership with footwear company SANÜK, Flip Flop Shops has organized "Life's Too Short to Wear Shoes Protests" for public participation to protest against our fast-paced, overstuffed lifestyle. The protests will be held each Friday from May 31 to June 21 in major business districts throughout Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Vancouver.

The June activities are part of an ongoing comprehensive campaign, "the Heart To Sole: Creating A Stress-Free America," launched in 2013 after Brian Curin, the President and Co-Founder (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops, underwent lifesaving open-heart surgery in September to repair the complete to near-complete blockage in his four main arteries. Doctors linked the problem in part to stress that Curin endured earlier in his career.

"Many studies show that stress is the cause behind a majority of our nation's health problems," noted Curin, 38. "Today I enjoy an active, paced lifestyle, but in my early career days – prior to Flip Flop Shops – I was moving at high speed, never slowing down to recognize warning signs of heart disease, until it was nearly too late. The goal of the Heart To Sole campaign is to inspire a `pace, not race,' mentality. Employers should relax their cultures to reduce stress for employees, and people in general should slow it down."

The campaign's four key goals are to build traction for the "pace, not race" message of slowing down and enjoying life, resulting in positive lifestyle changes; to educate company executives about the importance of relaxing their cultures (including dress codes) to reduce employee stress; to encourage employers to make annual stress tests (a treadmill test or exercise test) mandatory to detect potential heart problems; and to raise funds for the AHA to support necessary resources for educating the public about the link between stress and heart disease.

Also during Stress-Free America month, people can enter a Pinterest Contest in which Flip Flop Shops will give away a pair of flip flops each week to one Pinterest user who shares their "Flip Flop Friday" photos from work. Starting June 1, consumers can make donations at the register in increments of $1, $2, and $5 to the American Heart Association at Flip Flop Shops locations throughout the United States.

"This campaign has been a long time coming," said Darin Kraetsch, the CEO and Co-Founder (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops. "It's about time that somebody stepped up to stop the madness of our stressed-out nation. We're calling attention to a serious issue, but we're doing it in a fun, creative Flip Flop Shops kind of way."

About Flip Flop Shops

Founded in 2004, Flip Flop Shops is North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals from big names such as SANÜK, REEF, OluKai, Cobian, Quiksilver, ROXY, and Cushe. The Kennesaw, Ga.-based company began franchising in January 2008 and continues to be recognized by industry leaders as one of the fastest-growing franchises and retailers in the nation. Industry accolades include: the International Council of Shopping Centers' prestigious "Hot Retailer Award" and ranking No. 170 in the 2012 Inc. 500 | 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States, as well as the sixth fastest-growing franchise and ninth fastest-growing retailer in the nation.

Growing the brand to more than 80 shops in operation and 110-plus in the development pipeline, the executive team boasts more than 50 years of franchise experience building and growing some of the world's fastest-growing franchise concepts, category leaders and some of the world's most well-known brands, including Cold Stone Creamery, Moe's Southwest Grill, Nike and OfficeZilla.com. The company is an Environmentally Responsible Retailer™ encouraging the nation to Free Their Toes®. Flip Flop Shops also promotes a healthy, stress-free lifestyle through its educational campaign, the Heart To Sole: Creating A Stress-Free America, designed to reduce stress levels throughout North America, improve heart health and support the American Heart Association in its My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative. For more information on the franchise opportunity, visit http://franchise.flipflopshops.com/.

The Flip Flop Shops logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=12486

The "the Heart To Sole: Creating a Stress-Free America" and the American Heart Association's My Heart. My Life logos are available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=17303

CONTACT: Media Contact: Jayne Levy, Fishman PR & Marketing 847-945-1300 ext. 225 or jlevy@fishmanpr.com

Source:Flip Flop Shops