CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- The stretch between White Plains and Albany is nearly 150 miles. Ben Drew, who will host the grand opening of Run On Hudson Valley in Croton-On-Hudson on Saturday, Oct. 18, was astonished to learn there was not a specialty running store in that vast distance.
“We were looking for competing running stores and couldn’t find anything,’’ said Drew, who started searching for a location in the spring of 2013. “We considered Poughkeepsie, but settled on Northern Westchester because the demographics made a little bit more sense.”
Drew also considered Peekskill, but a brand new building opened in Croton at 383 South Riverside Ave. “It had a lot of natural light, and there are some awesome places for running nearby, such as Croton Point Park and the Aqueduct trail. We zeroed in on Croton almost by accident, but it made perfect sense.”
Drew, who has run nine marathons, also brought in Brad Lombardi as store manager. Lombardi has completed 70 marathons and ultramarathons, such as the Brazil 135 and Badwater 135.
Together, they figure to be a welcome addition to the vast running population in Northern Westchester. The store will carry all of the top brands of running shoes, including Asics, Brooks, New Balance, Saucony, Altra, Mizuno and Hoka. The store offers 34 models of men’s and women’s shoes, and four models of children’s shoes. “We didn’t plan to carry children’s shoes, but the community demanded it,’’ Drew said.
The store will offer a custom-fit process, which distinguishes it from online retailers and big-box stores. “We’ll determine what kind of running shoe is right for each individual,’’ Drew said. “We have the try-on ability that you can’t get online. It’s part science and part art.”
Besides shoes, the store will offer runners the full line of apparel and accessories. The store also will offer group runs, including a women’s only group, yoga classes and clinics on how to use a foam roller, tape ankles or other necessary information for runners.
“Our philosophy is we don’t just want to sell shoes,’’ Drew said. “We want to be there for them throughout their running and walking career.”
Another unique element at the store is its volunteer ambassadors, who will help with group runs and promote the store. Ambassadors will receive store discounts up to 25 percent.
After living in Florida, Lombardi joined Drew through a mutual acquaintance. Drew’s background is in banking, which compliments Lombardi’s experience as an endurance athlete. “It’s just a really good fit for both of us,’’ Lombardi said. “Ben has the banking background and I’m all over the place.”
“I didn’t think a long-term career in banking was viable,’’ Drew said. “Jobs were being outsourced. Starting a small business was something that I wanted to do. This was a way to combine my interests w/the business.”
The store opened in July and has been adding inventory. Grand opening activities begin Thursday with a group yoga class. Saturday’s activities include product demos from brand reps and giveaways, raffles, food and clinics.
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