SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: SPECIALTY RUNNING STORES are alive and flourishing. The subtitle of the article “Specialty Running Stores Sell More Than Just Shoes” by TJ Murphy for RunnersWorld.com encapsulates one of the main points made by the author. “The best ones also sell MOJO, in exactly your size.” FOR THIS REASON, visiting one should be a strategy of beginning runners to persevere in their training! 'Mojo' is slang for magical power, borrowed from the voodoo world where “mojo” is a magical power charm bag.
Before getting to that topic, here’s a bit of background on Small Business Saturday. According to a Wikipedia entry, the first SBS event was held in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts on the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2010, “sponsored by American Express Corporation, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation,” Roslindale Village Main Street, and the mayor of Boston.
“Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick-and-mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation”. Because this event promised to benefit local politicians, small town as well as large city local businesses, and large credit corporations, the promotion gained steam. It’s a win-win-win proposition.
Specialty running stores belong to this group. Once thought to be moribund because of the rise of internet competition as well as big-box store chains selling athletic footwear, they appear to be doing quite well, thank you very much. These small store owners and their employees must work incredibly hard to meet and beat the challenges of the competition (the article explains how, in detail) but they seem to be doing so successfully.
Part of this success comes from helping customers wade through the confusion of running shoe section. Another part comes from efforts to build and support a sense of “community” in their locale by sponsoring racing events, training and injury prevention clinics, and sometimes supporting high school running teams and charity groups. One such business is Gazelle Sports, headquartered in West Michigan. In addition to serving in those ways, it is also a B-Corporation, a certification that indicates a company “uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems”. I love this store chain.
MOST IMPORTANTLY for the reluctant, uncertain, or timid beginning/want-to-be runner, specialty running stores can serve as low-key personal boosters, a source of 'mojo'. There’s not much evangelizing to fear; there won’t be sales-pushing. Generally, an associate will approach you in a non-threatening manner and ask to help you make whatever selection you are pondering as you browse. This could be a small package of GU gummies.
In my experience, these content-expert sales persons will provide serious advice regardless of the value of the item, as if you are a serious runner! Thus the personal boost or mojo, comes from within, with the realization that you have it in YOU to be part of RUNNING.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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