Chicago Teen to Meet Her Sports Idol at The Athlete's Foot
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Chicago Teen to Meet Her Sports Idol at The Athlete's Foot

Regional Winner of Retailer's In My Shoes Contest Greets Mark Buehrle October 1st at the Westfield Chicago Ridge Mall

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - September 28, 2007) - Kimberly Essary is a 16-year-old with goals. She wanted to make her sophomore volleyball team. She wanted to be a "game changer" on whom her teammates can count in critical situations. And she very much wanted to meet her sports idol, White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. Now, with the help of The Athlete's Foot (TAF), Kimberly has realized all of these aspirations. TAF announced today that the 16-year-old student from Lincoln Way Central High School has been selected as a regional winner of its nationwide In My Shoes contest and will come face-to-face with Mark Buehrle at The Athlete's Foot store in the Westfield Chicago Ridge mall on Monday evening, October 1st.

"The In My Shoes campaign and contest encouraged our young customers, everyday athletes who are starting a new school year, to share their performance goals so that The Athlete's Foot stores in their communities could empower them to achieve and excel," commented Robert W. D'Loren, President and CEO of NexCen Brands, Inc., parent company of TAF. "As our first-selected regional winner, Kimberly did an excellent job of expressing her desire to perform at her highest level. We are delighted that, through the local Athlete's Foot franchise in her hometown, we are able to introduce her to a fellow Chicago athlete who shares a commitment to excellence."

Kimberly's winning contest entry expressed the teen's athletic goals and her commitment to always believing in herself. She is currently a member of the Lincoln Way Knights volleyball team, which has gone 5-3 thus far this season. She's a life-long athlete having also participated in softball, basketball and track, where she reached the state championships in shot-put.

"I am so excited to have the opportunity to meet Mark Buehrle," commented Kimberly when notified she had the winning entry. "I have been a White Sox fan since I was born, and a fan of his since he joined the team. I remember staying up late on school nights when I was just 14 to watch the World Series games."

Buehrle earned a no-decision in Game 2 of that series, and his first career save in Game 3. At the start of this season, the leftie threw a no-hitter, facing the minimum number of batters, walking only one batter and picking him off at first-base for an out. On top of his on-field expertise, Buehrle is considered a fan favorite and has been known to slide around the tarp during rain delays to entertain the crowd.

While many admire Mark Buehrle, Kimberly Essary might be considered a super-fan. Her email address is a clever play on her first name and the object of her admiration -- it begins "kimbuehrle." Her room is decorated with photos of the pitcher and newspaper clippings of the White Sox World Series win. She's also the proud owner of a Buehrle-signed baseball and jersey.

The two athletes will meet on Monday, October 1st, at Kimberly's local Athlete's Foot store in the Westfield Chicago Ridge Mall on 95th Street at Ridgeland Avenue in Chicago Ridge, IL. There, Buehrle will sign autographs for the public from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and will meet Kimberly and present her with a gift card prize from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m.

"We are extremely pleased to unite Kimberly, a passionate White Sox fan, with another dedicated athlete, Mark Buehrle, at our TAF store," said Amir Darwish, franchisee, The Athlete's Foot. "One of the great benefits of owning a TAF store is connecting with our community and helping our customers to reach their goals."

The TAF In My Shoes campaign, which the retailer launched in late July, invited students ages 13 to 18 nationwide to submit written or video (YouTube) entries stating their performance goals for the new school year. Local winners, selected from participating TAF stores, will receive a $75 TAF gift card.

In addition to the Chicago event with Mark Buehrle, nine other regional winners will meet pro athletes from their communities, including:

-- Redskins running back Clinton Portis

-- Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward

-- New York Knicks forward David Lee

-- Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn

-- Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley

-- Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna

-- Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Reggie Brown

-- Houston Texans running back Ahman Green

-- New Orleans Saints receiver Marques Colston

The Athlete's Foot is thrilled to contribute 10% of the proceeds from the memorabilia sales at each regional meet-and-greet to The Achilles Track Club's (ATC) Achilles Kids program (, which enables young people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics, to promote personal achievement, enhanced self esteem and the lowering of barriers between people.

One national winner will have a one-on-one coaching session with one of the hottest professional athletes in the country. The winner and athlete will be announced by late October.

About The Athlete's Foot (

The Athlete's Foot® (TAF) is the world's first franchisor of athletic footwear stores and is recognized today as the world leader in athletic footwear franchising. Robert and David Lando opened the first The Athlete's Foot store in 1971 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was the first athletic footwear specialty store of its kind in the United States. Soon thereafter, TAF began franchising domestically, with the first franchise store opening in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The first international franchise store opened in 1978 in Adelaide, Australia, the beginning of TAF's expansion into over 45 countries. In June, 2007, NexCen Brands launched a global re-branding effort for TAF. Plans for reinvigorating the 36-year-old brand include an innovative new modular merchandising system, new in-store design, a modernized company logo, and a line of TAF branded apparel.

About NexCen Brands, Inc. (

NexCen Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: NEXC) is the premier 21st century brand acquisition and management company focused on assembling a diversified portfolio of intellectual property-centric companies operating in the consumer branded products and franchise industries. The Company owns, licenses, franchises and markets a growing portfolio of consumer and franchise brands including The Athlete's Foot®, Bill Blass®, MaggieMoo's®, Marble Slab Creamery®, Pretzel Time®, Pretzelmaker® and Waverly®. The Company licenses and franchises its brands to a network of leading retailers, manufacturers and franchisees that includes every major segment of retail distribution from the luxury market to the mass market in the U.S. and in over 50 countries around the world, and consists of more than 1,500 franchised stores. NexCen, through its information technology and franchisee support systems and advertising, marketing and public relations team, markets its brands to continually drive greater consumer awareness and brand equity for each of its brands. NexCen touches nearly every aspect of a consumer's lifestyle from the food they eat to the furnishings in their homes and the clothes and footwear they purchase.



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