DARIEN, Conn. — Since 1978, the Runner’s Roost has provided the Darien running community with expertise in training, racing, and general exercise footwear from its location on Route 1.
The running store has now moved to a new location in the Goodwives Shopping Center, and promises to continue to serve Darien and provide enhanced client interaction.
“For nearly 40 years, the Runner’s Roost has grown with the running community,” said owner Steve Norris, longtime coach of the women’s cross country and track programs at Darien High School. “Now, our business is more local than it used to be. A higher percentage of our customers are from Darien than before.”
The Runner’s Roost’s new location makes the store more convenient for customers. When Runner’s Roost first opened, the standalone storefront on the Post Road was helpful. It became known in Darien immediately and the visibility of the store’s location, plus out-front parking, helped the business grow consistently.
But today, with the rise in Internet sales, Norris, like other small business owners, experiences new challenges.
He said the Runner’s Roost finds it harder and harder to compete against online retailers because major shoe companies are manufacturing their shoes to be sold online rather than sold at local retail stores.
That's where the knowledge and expertise of Runner’s Roost staff comes in as an advantage.
“Larger running retailers try to stock all the shoes, but they don’t have the personnel to sell the shoes like we do,” Norris said.
The new location, therefore, emphasizes Runner’s Roost’s commitment to its customers, with a renovated fitting room, a more functional floor plan, and better storage.
“Our new location is made for retail,” store manager Catherine Solus said. “It’s easier to display our merchandise, and we’ve personalized our shop to make our customers’ experience more enjoyable.”
Runner’s Roost opened in Goodwives on July 5, just in time for Darien’s Sidewalk Sales and Family Fun Days, which took place last week.
Solus said the move was timed so that the Runner’s Roost could continue business-as-usual for customers.
“It was time for the Runner’s Roost to move into a new model to support our customers. We’re up for the challenge,” Solus said.
Runner’s Roost is a specialized running shop in Darien for anyone and everyone interested in running. Since opening in 1978, Runner’s Roost has provided running-related products and advice, fitting expertise, and personalized customer service.
In 2013, Norris was named Darien Sports Person of the Year by the Fairfield County Sports Commission.
For more information about the Runner’s Roost, visit www.runnersroostct.com .
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