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SHOP TALK: Bringing Beginners In

Published on | RIA | News & Updates

Across the industry, the influx of new consumers picking up running over the past few years has generated plenty of buzz, along with plenty of new customers. At the run specialty retail level, offering a welcoming environment to newer runners is something shops each take different approaches with. Runstyle talked to several run specialty stores across the country about how they reach beginning runners, including helping them overcome any anxieties they face not just in taking up the sport but often in just walking into a run specialty shop to begin with.
Group of beginner runners
Group of beginner runners

Photo: The running group Chinatown Runners at an event at Brooklyn Running Company.
By Tom Ryan, Shared from runstyle spring 2024 edition

Brooklyn Running’s Motto: “Beginners Are Our Specialty”

Brooklyn Running Company’s motto – “Beginners Are Our Specialty” – is printed on both of its stores in Williamsburg and Park Slope. The stores see new runners across ages and backgrounds, including those returning to the sport after a break.

“A lot of newer runners can be overwhelmed by the number of brands and types of running shoes that are available today,” said Sarah Stafford, marketing director. “When shopping online or from a brand retail shop, it can be difficult for beginners to navigate all the options and understand the technical terminology around running shoes.”

At the store level, Brooklyn Running’s staff starts every conversation with a new customer by asking questions to understand what brought them to the store, whether they’re prepping for an upcoming race, have personally set a running goal, or are dealing with any current or past injuries. Stafford said, “This helps our team to guide the conversation and understand what running experience and knowledge the customer may be bringing into the dialogue.”

All events hosted at Brooklyn Running’s stores are open to runners of all paces and experience levels. The stores also engage with running clubs and crews around the city that attracts a diverse mix of runners. Stafford added, “Age is less of a factor than running experience and goals, as we see both beginners and more advanced runners of all ages.”

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