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Secrets to Success: Rye Running Company

Running specialty store Running Company choose Rye as its next location to do business in.

The owner of the Running Company in Princeton, NJ, didn’t expect his business to grow as it has. Now with locations across the NYC metro area, the 19th Running Company store opened in Rye on November 26.

Specializing in running equipment and accessories, the outfit replaces the once-popular Athlete’s Foot on Purchase St.

Patch interviewed district manager Tim Clark on the chain’s secrets to success.

Q. What do you specialize in?

We offer injury prevention, rehabilitation, advice on training and racing. In store, we do a video gate analysis, which involves people running on a treadmill for 30 seconds. We then analyze their biomechanics and kinematics to give insight as to what kind of footwear they need.

Q. Why did the company choose Rye?

Gene Mitchell, the founder and former owner, viewed this is an underserved community. People in town are into running and triathlons, and he took what we do and brought it here. We are trying to be a resource.

We tend to be on the main drag in the center of town, a shopping center. That helps with foot traffic, but we also reach out to training teams, gyms, doctors and charity training groups so people know that they can come here.

Q. Who is your audience?

We are not exclusive to runners. Anyone looking to start being active, to continue to be active, or to get back to being active.

Q. How are you different from general sporting stores?

We are specialized in what we do, and we are different in how we explain to the customers. We understand runners.

We emphasize education above anything else. We are not throwing jargon at you and are operating above people's heads. We clear up any misinformation so people can make up their own mind.

We offer shoes, apparel, technical running apparel, accessories like fuel belts, GPS watches, headphones, nutrition, group runs, clinics, electronics and strollers.

Q. So would the secrets to your chain’s success be in its people?

Yes, our biggest investment is our people. We put a huge emphasis on people; we have a good business model, but without the people it would be nothing.  Any employee you interview is in love with the company that they work for. This is our secret to success. I started to grow in the business because of my mentor. I started as a sales associate and moved up within the company. The employees range from Olympic trials qualifiers down to running enthusiasts.

The Rye Running Company, located at 37 Purchase St., will be holding a clinic on December 5 on good form running from representatives of Newton.

A.J. Voelpel December 07, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Wow, Tim Clark sounds like a genius! He is to running what beavers are to dam building.

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