Laced into the community: Charles River Running encourages movement for all
Charles River Running is a shoe fitting store based in Norwood, MA. Below the small business owner shares some details on their shop and the importance of supporting local.
Describe your business:
Charles River Running is a veteran- and woman-owned shoe store. We measure your feet, watch you walk, and recommend the proper shoes for YOU. We also host a weekly running club for our local community- check out #crr_ThursdayStrong on social pages!
What makes your business unique?
We set out to make movement approachable and attainable for everyone. We ask for your name, and we care about you because we believe that movement is essential for good health. No one should experience pain while walking or running, and we’re here to help you find the perfect fit. Our store has also embraced the local community by opening our doors every Thursday evening for organized walks and runs.
What does your business look like?
We are a sit-and-fit, run-and-walk store with shoes, apparel, and accessories. Before COVID-19, we were a brick-and-mortar, one-door operation. After we closed our doors in March 2020, we quickly shifted to an online store. While this was underway, we took orders over the phone and email and put many miles on the family minivan delivering shoes to our local customers. With the help of two of my three kids home from college, I also had delivery drivers! We even accommodated shoe fittings for customers over zoom and facetime. After restrictions lifted, we implemented customer appointments to provide a safe and socially distanced seat on our fitting bench.
Why is it important to support businesses like yours?
In the age of social media, when you can get any good or service at your doorstep in a snap, you sometimes need to connect with someone in person. When a customer comes to our store, we want to make sure they leave with a product that will help them reach their goals. To do this, we need to ask questions, observe, and listen in person. Our customers appreciate the service we provide and understand that we connect with and give back to the community. Whether it’s donating to local boosters or hosting our weekly run club, our customers see us as a part of the downtown fabric.
Do you want to say anything to your customers?
I cannot thank them enough. COVID-19 has been a long haul for all small businesses, but we would not be here today without our community and loyal customer support.
How has your business changed or adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We took our entire store online and have limited the number of guests allowed in-store. We took a break from our running club, but we’re back now. Customers try shoes on with clean socks that we provide, and we continuously spray, wipe, and wash. We have a newfound appreciation for customers who choose Charles River Running over large retailers. I often ask folks, “What do you want your downtown to look like after this is all over and behind us? Support the businesses now that you want to see here in the future. If you don’t, they won’t make it.”