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I am pretty fortunate that there is a store in my neighborhood that sells running shoes, in fact it specializes in selling running shoes.  I have been a customer of the store for as long as I can remember.  The owner is a runner.  All of his employees are runners.

Walking into the store is like walking into Cheers where everybody knows your name.

I bought a new pair of Saucony Rides last night in anticipation of getting the green light to run in a few weeks.  I used to run in another brand of shoes but I got so very tired of seeing their ubiquitous logo on shoes, hats, football jerseys, footballs, soccer balls and jerseys, baseball uniforms and on and on.  I figured that they could live with out my money.  They seem to be doing quite well without me.

Saucony was founded in 1898 in Kutztown, PA just up the road from me on the banks of the Saucon Creek.  I’m partial to locals just like the running store.

The store and it’s employees not only sell shoes but the whole enterprise functions as a kind of clearing house and gathering place where runners can talk to other runners.  Last night a group of us were discussing the use and benefits of a Strasburg Sock.  One runner had developed tenderness just above both ankles and she was the beneficiary of at least three opinions, all from runners. Who knows more about being hurt than runners?  Sad but true.

I can get free medical advice about a running injury there before I have to give in and go to my Doc who is a great guy but not a runner.  I can walk in the store not knowing a soul there and within minutes have a serious and thoughtful conversation on just about any topic associated with running like races, weather, shoes, training, local high schools and college XC and track teams.

I imagine that the store is a modern version of what occurred in the old days when farmers used to visit their local general store in the dead of winter.  They would sit around the pot bellied stove, shoot the breeze, discuss last fall’s harvest, what the prospects for next spring’s planting would be and maybe talk a little baseball in what came to be known as the hot stove league.

My local hardware store is much the same kind of establishment.  I know everyone who works there and they know all their customers by name.  I’ll buy things that I can I can get for less at the local big box but I spend my money down the street because I know if I have a problem with my purchase I can return it with no questions asked.

Besides, I think I have a responsibility to keep my local businesses in business.

Think local, buy local.

Do you have a local running store? What do you like about it?  Do you go out of your way to patronize it?