There were plenty of big winners at the The Running Event’s Best Running Stores in America Dinner in Austin, Texas last night, where several awards were handed out to top specialty run retailers throughout the country. However, the biggest winner was Charlotte Running Co.
The retailer, with four locations in North Carolina and one in South Carolina, took home the coveted Store of the Year honor for 2021. When accepting the award, storeowner Scott Dvorak thanked last year’s winner, 1st Place Sports, for showing him how stores in the specialty run channel should operate four decades prior.
“I was first introduced to what a running store should be nearly 40 years ago, when his young runner bought my first pair of [Nike] Waffle Racers at 1st Place Sports in Jacksonville, Fla. They were the recipients of this award last year. Thank you Jane and Doug Alred for being an example for all of us,” Dvorak said.
Charlotte Running Co. edged out three other stores to win the award: Fleet Feet Montclair, Run Hub Northwest and Johns Run/Walk Shop.
Other awards that were handed out include the Run Happy Award presented by Brooks, given to the store employee who brings a glass half full approach to their job daily. The winner of Chelsea Kipp of Mill City Running and Saint City Running in Minnesota, who was honored for her efforts in elevating the bra shopping experience. This included creating a “Bras for Bros” handbook so other sales associates could speak about them with confidence.
“If you don’t wear a run bra, get acquainted with them. It’ll change a girl’s life,” she said, earning a laugh from attendees.
The Run for Good Award presented by Saucony, which is given to a retailer that is dedicated to helping children through running. The award for 2021 was given to Bull City Running Co. in North Carolina.
The Skechers Performance Miles of Comfort Award, which was given to RUNdetroit, a store the footwear brand said has been stellar in the face of the pandemic throughout 2021.
The Impact Award presented by On, which was the first time it has been handed out, was given to Palmetto Running Co. in South Carolina for working to transform run into a more sustainable, diverse, equitable and inclusive community.
The final brand-sponsored honor was the Ubuntu Award presented by Balega. The purpose of the award, Balega said in an intro video, was to honor thoughtful actions that have long-lasting effects on the lives of people in local communities. It was given to Tanya and Bert Pictor, the recently-retired founders of Balega.