Business Overview

These specialty stores, typically small mom and pop establishments, offer customers an assortment of gear specifically targeting the sport of running.  Athletes can interact with other runners as they seek advice regarding the best fitting shoe or shop for the latest gadgets. Some larger running stores also sell equipment for sports that include running, such as basketball or soccer.

Who is this business right for?

While prior running experience isn’t required to run a successful running store, the entrepreneur with hands-on experience in the sport would be best suited for this business endeavor.  Customers will seek your guidance on products available in the market, as well as training and nutrition advice.  If you’re considering this new business venture and aren’t an adept runner, surround yourself with a retail team that is armed with the necessary information.  

What happens during a typical day at a running store?

The specifics of your day will vary, depending upon how you decide to structure your business and the specific services you decide to offer.  

Most days will include the following activities:

  • Track inventory and place orders
  • Check displays to ensure everything is featured properly. Change out window displays.
  • Consult customer to determine what product they’re shopping for.  You’ll need to draw enough information out of them to adequately recommend the items best fitting their needs.
  • Converse with customers regarding race training, upcoming races, and running injuries.  
  • Educate yourself so you’re able to converse with customers on the latest trends. This will also ensure your shop offers the trends that you stand behind and feel comfortable recommending.  
  • If local runners meet up for group runs at your shop, join in.
  • Marketing.

Initially, your role will also require you to perform the standard administrative duties.  When you’re ready, the store manager can take over a majority of those duties.  

What is the target market?

The bulk of your business will come from experienced runners who regularly invest in their passion.  You’ll meet sponsored runners, ultra marathoners, and those training for the next local race.  They’ll all have one thing in common - they’re passionate about their sport and are always looking for that new product that will help them achieve a new personal best.  

The second demographic your business should cater to is the novice runner and individuals involved in other sports.  This is your opportunity to gain a new, regular client.  When treated right and educated properly, many of these customers will realize a newfound passion, and have you to thank for it.

How does a running store make money?

As a retail store, your business will generate a profit through the sale of each item.  

What is the growth potential for a running store?

Runners enjoy the individualized attention they get when visiting a small, locally owned running store.  Employees are able to provide quality service, spending as much time as necessary on each customer.  For this reason, many store owners choose decide to keep their shop small.  

That’s not to say, however, that there’s no growth potential.  In larger cities, many entrepreneurs have found such success they were able to open multiple stores throughout their town and surrounding areas.  Enterprises such as Fleet Feet Sports offer franchising opportunities to the right candidates. Investors receive the backing of an experienced, well-known organization, providing a leg up on the competition.