While many downtown stores are heading for outlying shopping districts, Ann Arbor Running Company owners Nick Stanko and Ian Forsyth have reversed the trajectory. The former U-M runners, who started out in the Oak Valley Center, opened a branch in April in Kerrytown.
“Downtown was definitely very appealing because it complemented the other store in terms of walk-by traffic,” says Stanko from behind the counter on the store’s opening day. “When this spot opened up, we just pursued it.”
They’re in the former Kaleidoscope Books at Fourth Ave. and E. Ann. They plan to use it as a central meeting spot for their community runs and training groups, and held their first run on April 9 as part of their grand opening celebration.
More than 100 people signed up for the 8 a.m. run, with directions to follow the river through Argo Park “until you want to turn around.” Afterwards, the store was packed as customers cooled down with donuts from Washtenaw Dairy and checked out the New Balance gear tent set up outside.
The store is smaller than the Oak Valley mothership. Stanko says the inventory downtown will focus on their top-selling running shoes and–gesturing at his Ann Arbor Running Company hoodie–their own branded merchandise. He’s hoping to find new customers among downtown’s growing resident population and is excited to take part in events like Midnight Madness. “We’re definitely growing, and we’re going to continue to grow,” he says.
Ann Arbor Running Company, 200 N. Fourth Ave. 997-5223. Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. annarborrunningcompany.com