Dearly beloved runners,
Old ones, young ones, fast ones, slow ones, long distance ones, short painful distance ones, road hogs, trail warriors, fell and mountain goats...
Happy New Year! It’s certainly exciting times ahead for Run Venture in 2019, the little running shop in a shed on the edge of some woodland.
However, the shed has got too small or we have got too big. It’s just a case of perspective, I suppose.
The time has come to find a bigger shell so that we can continue to grow, and provide you, the runners of West and South Devon, with an even better independent specialist running shop.
But it’s blooming scary.
I remember three years back - we started in a gazebo in a field at a local race. Then we had a stall in the Tavistock Pannier Market, and then we moved to the current shed. So the next move to a ‘proper shop’ seems to be the next logical step.
Of course, it's not without risk and it could be a step too far for a small business, as this country moves into potentially unstable economic times.
I have quarrelled continually with myself over whether to stay put or to move but each time I remember the words of Mark Twain:
“to stand still is to fall behind”
Therefore we are ready to announce that in February 2019, Run Venture will open new bigger doors in the centre of Tavistock, with a larger range of footwear, packs, clothing and accessories.
The core values will remain the same, with quality customer service at the top of the list of our priorities. This is what sets us apart from others, in particular, the internet.
Online shopping will always be there - from buying milk to buying a car, we can all just click and receive.
However, in my opinion, buying a pair of running shoes is different:
I want to feel how they fit on my feet
I want to try different sizes
I want to know the pros and cons for me personally, and not just my mate’s opinion, or some unknown person on a YouTube channel
I want to talk with someone who actually runs, and who has experience of running, on a variety of terrains, over a range of distances
I want to compare them to other running shoes
I want to take my time and let the shoes settle on my feet
I want to actually run up and down in them and try them out
I want to talk to someone who understands.
At the end of the day, I’m a runner first and foremost myself so I want to base our store on what I would want from a running shop experience.
‘A running shop experience...’ and there lies the key.
Many say the high street is dying, and government figures would agree with this. There is nothing to stop a customer coming into a store, receiving all of the above service then walking out and buying online.
It happens already and it’s quite nice watching them squirm at weekend races when I say something like:
“Nice treads, told you they were the best ones for you...”
At the end of the day, customers will choose to buy from whoever, and I have no problem with that.
There are many underlying reasons, in my opinion, why the high street is dying and it is not just down to price.
A shop needs to do so much more than just be a place to buy a product. Making a significant purchase should be pleasurable, with lots of added value.
When it comes to buying running shoes, that added value should, at the very least, include good advice from someone with experience.
Our aim is build on what we have already started and offer a better experience when buying running shoes, packs, waterproofs and socks, etc.
But we want to go further than that.
We want to build a community running hub, where you can come in and talk about running, have a coffee, get something fresh to eat, and not just shop and go.
The new running shop will operate alongside the already popular Dragonfly Cafe, which this January is undergoing a small refurbishment to accommodate the Run Venture Running Hub.
There are future plans this year that include:
More shoe and pack testing events from all our brands
Guest speaker events and workshops
A Run Venture monthly membership, to help spread the cost of your next purchase
Discounts on second purchases
Continue our popular monthly Sunday Brunch Run
I am in no doubt that this will be a labour of love and I am equally confident I won’t get it right all of the time but I want to give it a go.
I hope you are able to continue to support us in our journey and once we have a launch date, we will invite you all to attend our running party.
As always, enjoy your running and mind how you run,