Running Specialty Group Acquires Boulder Running Co.

Running Specialty Group‘s acquisition spree is kicking into high gear.

Two weeks after buying the six-door BlueMile running chain, the Denver-based firm said Monday it has purchased the three-door Boulder Running Co.

The deal, struck for an undisclosed sum, includes the e-commerce site Boulderrunningcompany.com. Chris Brown, principal at Gart Partners, which co-owns RSG with Finish Line Inc., told Footwear News that both acquisitions came in under $50 million.

“Our goal over the next five years is to become a lot larger, so we’ll have to do a lot of smaller acquisitions to get there,” Brown said. “We’re in talks with additional candidates [for possible acquisitions this year]. We have a good pipeline of potential deals in place at the moment.”

Opened in 1996 by former running champions Johnny Halberstadt and Mark Plaatjes, Boulder Running Co. is considered by industry insiders to be one of the top running specialty retail operations stateside. RSG said it plans to add more store locations in metro Denver and possibly other markets, based on the broad appeal of the chain’s reputation.

Gart said it aims to preserve the “local” feel of the Boulder Running Co. chain and keep it connected to the community through personalized services and support of special events.

“We have great respect for the history and heritage of Boulder Running Co. because we understand the heart, the energy, the risk and the commitment it takes to build and maintain running stores of this caliber,” Ken Gart, partner of Gart Capital Partners, said in a statement. “We have admired these stores and Halberstadt’s and Plaatjes’ philosophy for so many years that we are really honored to have it as part of the RSG group.”

Plaatjes plans to continue assisting with the management of Boulder Running Co. while Halberstadt will stay through a transition period before moving into a consulting role.

RSG, which also operates an e-commerce business, Run.com, now has a store base of 38.

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