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February 2021 update from Executive Director Terry Schalow

Published on | Terry Schalow | News & Updates

As we wrap up 2020, wow what a year, and look forward with the first quarter of 2021, Executive Director Terry Schalow shares some thoughts with the Pulse.
Running Industry Association Year in Review
Running Industry Association Year in ReviewRunning Industry Association Year in Review

Back in my go-fast racing days, I spent a few months training through a chronically tight and annoyingly painful right hip.  I asked my training partners for advice, and they turned me on to a variety of specialists. I saw a physical therapist, a chiropractor, and a massage therapist.  I also tried active release, explored reiki (don’t judge!) and even consulted with an orthopedic surgeon. While these specialists varied in their approach, there was a consistent message from each of them: “Stick with me. I can make you better”.  It made my head spin trying to figure out which solution was best. In the end, I did get better, but it was not from a single solution.It was a combination of therapies and good ‘ol stretching that did the trick.

I share that story because it seems analogous to our rapidly evolving run specialty channel. There are a dizzying array of new business solutions that have become available, but it can get confusing deciding where to invest time and resources.  There are ecommerce solutions, digital marketing platforms, POS systems, planning tools, content services, communications offerings, and much more. And in some cases, formerly stand-alone platforms have evolved into vertical models offering multiple services.  The good news is that most of these solutions are really good at what they do, and they can help make your business better. But you cannot invest in all of them.  You have to make choices on which platforms are best for your own unique business strategy. 

The RIA is here to help you navigate through your options.  Our focus in 2021 will be to collect information to better educate and expose our members to the many options out there.  Once armed with those tools, you can make informed business decisions.  We’ll also help improve the bottom line with negotiated discounts; and with some partners, free services.  In this newsletter you’ll see some examples of what I’m referring to. To wit, we’ll be hosting informational webinars, introducing new associate members, providing relevant market data, sharing information on our latest member surveys, and informing best practices on ecommerce and direct to consumer strategies. 

2020 was a tough year, but our members rose to the challenge in a positive way.  2021 will continue that trend, and the RIA will be there alongside our members to help ensure a pain free business climate. No reiki required. 


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