RunningCo. is a South Jersey hub for all your running needs. We had the opportunity to talk with Dave, long-time owner of all four South Jersey RunningCo. stores. He gave us some background on the history of his stores, advice for runners just starting out, and how RunningCo. is anything but your average sneaker store.
What’s the history of RunningCo.? How did it get started?
RunningCo. opened in March 1997, so we’re celebrating 20 years this year. I have been the sole owner for the past 14 years. We started with just Haddonfield and then after 10 years I opened Mullica Hill behind the house I was living in. Moorestown then followed and is coming up on 10 years. I opened that initially with Bob Bickle who has since stepped away to pursue helping the running industry in other ways so we still work together, just not as business partners. Finally Medford opened 2.5 years ago.
You have a bunch of RunningCo. stores in downtown areas. What attracts your store to Main Streets in South Jersey? Why is RunningCo. a good fit for these downtown areas?
We have chosen to open in downtowns because our goal is to be a part of the community and what better way than to be right in the middle of town! We work with all the local high schools and many nonprofits in South Jersey so we have picked locations that are central to each part of SJ.
Can you tell us a little more about the group running community in both Moorestown and Haddonfield? Can anyone attend group runs?
The running groups in each town are open to anyone and any ability and are free of charge. Haddonfield is Wednesday night at 6:30, Moorestown is Saturday morning at 8:00 and we have a run in Medford Thursday night at 6:30. These runs have become a great way for runners to meet and often we have a vendor we carry at the run with demos or give aways!
Could you go into a little more detail about the fit process of your stores and what makes it unique?
The fit process is unique in that you do not just pick a shoe off the wall for the way it looks. You are allowing us to work with you looking at your running gait (form), talk about any injuries you have and what your running goals are. We then bring out 3 shoes and let you try them on and run around in them to see how they feel. This is different than going to a Dick’s Sporting Good or Finish Line because our employees know the shoes inside and out, and they work with the vendors to understand what type of runner each shoe is for. We also carry shoes in a wide widths which a lot of people need now and “big box” stores do not stock widths.
What advice do you have to local runners looking to join a running group?
Right now we have started a group called RUN856. It has become a group for people just starting out to ask questions and meet others like them to run with. The group is mainly run through Facebook, so check it out.
What advice would you give to a novice runner?
The best advice is to not buy shoes based on look or price. The most expensive and cool looking shoe is usually not really meant for running. There are many shoes out there for fashion. Come get fit and get the right shoe for you. What your friend wears to run in may not be what you need to wear.
What’s next for RunningCo.?
We have a calendar on our website that is updated constantly, where you’ll find information on running groups and other events that our stores put on.