What Strategic Changes Are Running Stores Making?

Ed Griffin
Co-owner, Fleet Feet Sports, Syracuse, N.Y.

“We are putting a ton of focus on apparel sales — and women’s in particular. We have hired apparel specialists, tricked out our dressing rooms with curtains and love seats to make the experience more comfortable, spread the footwear try-on areas throughout the store to better integrate apparel and accessories to create a more even flow of traffic. And we are buying more lifestyle apparel from less-distributed quality brands to distinguish our offerings from big-box retailers.”

Robb Finegan
Co-owner, Fit Right NW, Portland, Ore.

“One thing we’ve done this year is go after more corporate wellness business, and we’ll have a bigger focus on that. We have our own 5k training program that we’ve been pitching to the corporations, but also doing health fairs and shoe fittings for [companies]. We’ve been getting our foot in the door and have just started some good relationships.”

Lee Silverman
President, JackRabbit Sports, New York

“We’re putting a lot of effort into apparel. If we’re going to grow, it needs to be through apparel. We’re adjusting our store merchandising, replenishing, buying and sales techniques — there’s a lot to learn. Among running stores, we’re one of the best. But compared with people who sell apparel, we’re amateurs. We need to learn how to be that kind of store while also being a great running store.”

Mike Cosentino
Founder, Big Peach Running Co., Atlanta

“We’ve made a six-figure, six- to nine-month investment in a new POS system that connects the purchases and [information] of guests. Our channel across the board — and Big Peach is no different — continues to be challenged at customer retention. This will connect our databases with social media and shopping information, and will greatly increase the likelihood that [customers] will continue to shop at Big Peach for additional pairs and for other products. It’ll also make cash wraps not a necessity, so we’ll be much more consumer and transaction friendly.”

Kris Hartner
Owner, Naperville Running Co., Naperville, Ill.

“Our internal focus, since we added our second store [in February], is figuring out the inventory mix and the levels of product [we can carry]. When you have a store doing a fraction of the business, we can’t have all those SKUs, but you want the space to look good. Operationally, we’re working on getting that the way we need it to be.”