Workforce Development

Long Run: People Practices Power Running Store’s Performance

September 18, 2017  • Mark G. Popovich & Amanda Newman

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“The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race,” so noted a sign at a recent marathon. The trope of challenging journeys that reshape character is common in sports. It also applies well to Charm City Run, a Baltimore-area running and walking specialty store. The company certainly equips and trains those “starters” and “finishers.” Since launching a single storefront in 2002, the enterprise has evolved to match their changing goals, methods, and scale.

After earlier booms and subsequent slumps, selling running shoes and apparel now is a tough retail market. The cross currents include rapidly shifting customer preferences, high velocity churn in products, and top-flight competitors of both the hard-wall and e-commerce variety.

Charm City Run is doing better, however, than just keeping pace. The firm is accelerating even in this extremely harsh market. They are in growth mode when thousands of retail outlets closed across the country this year alone, and the number of running stores has slumped by three hundred in recent years. As so many drop off pace, or hang on with ever-dwindling hopes, CCR has upped their investment to eight locations, with the latest opening on the Baltimore waterfront in the hotspot Fells Point neighborhood.

Charm City Run is a top performer. And its people make it possible.

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