You may recognize the Running Room from one of its many locations—it has over 100 stores across Canada and the United States. But did you know the family-owned company started in Edmonton? Founder John Stanton opened the first store 35 years ago (this upcoming July!), and now it’s North America’s largest chain of specialty running stores, with a history of inclusivity and camaraderie. Meet John Stanton…
WHERE: How is Running Room more than a store?
John: The Running Room was established as a community meeting place for runners to share their enthusiasm for running and walking. In addition to the retail component, the stores are truly a place of all that is running—you can find all the resources to enjoy the sport. Often our customers stop by just to talk running or to seek advice.
W: Tell us about your private label.
J: The Running Room brand offers as-good or better products to the customer at a better price than they can get for the national brand. The products are designed and tested here in Canada under truly four-season running conditions, for runners by runners.
W: How is the store perfect for both first-time runners and marathon veterans?
J: It’s a friendly meeting place where everyone is welcome, and no questions are too silly to ask. You’re encouraged to make running a lifelong sport and, more importantly, encouraged to become friends with other runners in the community.
W: How are your core values upheld across more than 100 stores?
J: We are very fortunate and blessed to have a highly committed staff, many of whom are former customers and understand the importance of the welcoming environment and the inclusivity factor… We have excellent systems, methods, and procedures, so our team can focus on the important side of the business: looking after and encouraging the customer to achieve their goals.
W: What would you say to a first-timer?
J: Believe in yourself, and take that first step out the door. Get a good pair of shoes, some sound professional advice, and surround yourself with like-minded people. I went from an inactive 230-pound smoker to a runner—you, too, can achieve your goals.
Read the May/June 2019 digital edition for more great recommendations, Q&As, festivals, artists, and more!