Running stores are the heart and soul of running.
Inspiration greets you the moment you walk in the door. More than just a place to buy new running shoes, small, independent running stores are all about community, says Pat Sweeney, the co-owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Sacramento, Calif. They offer things you can’t get by clicking a mouse—namely service, support and a passion for running and local runners.
But increasingly for the past 10 years, small, independent running stores have been losing sales to the online vendors—online running shoe stores, sites that are selling discounted shoes from previous years and even directly from the same shoe brands they are selling in their stores.
Sweeney wrote a passionate article for the Washington Post this week about why small, independent running stores are the lifeblood of the running community.
“What drives us isn’t offering products at the lowest cost,” he writes. “We have never, and will never, win on price. And we don’t want to, thank you very much. That’s a race to the bottom that offers no prize.
“What does drive us continues to be that customer who comes through the door in search of answers for her aching feet; the customer who comes to us looking for help in setting a new personal record; or the customer who shows up on a cold Tuesday night to his training program, ready to run a mile without stopping for the first time in his life.”
Not only do those stores support local runners, but they also support local schools, races and training programs.
READ MORE: Washington Post