These days, it’s a rarity I find myself working the floor of one of our Specialty Run shops. Sure, I’ll hop in if the stores are really busy and our staff needs a hand. Or I’ll pop in during a Pacers Events packet pick-up to see if I can be of service. But a full day on the floor? A definite rarity.
A few weeks ago, our brand new manager of our brand new Pacers Princeton Running Store, Brian Harris, called me needing some assistance on Thursday and Friday of last week. He committed to working the Trenton Half Marathon Expo and his assistant, Steve Mod, was off serving as a counselor at a Boy Scouts retreat. Eager and excited, I hopped on the Amtrak to New Jersey.
I’ve been in and around Princeton a half dozen times in the past few months leading up to our store opening. Securing the location, working on the lease, designing the interior, interviewing staff, and connecting with local businesses in order to introduce Pacers to New Jersey in a unique, authentic, fashion to service the community in the same way we do in Washington. Exciting as these steps were, none of them really involved talking to and interacting with our customers. Until last week.
Working the floor, interacting with customers, fitting individual’s shoe needs, talking training, the excitement of a newly minted runner, that’s what made me fall in love with this business. It’s what continues to drive me every day to build, expand, and continue to create and recreate an experience for our customers unparalleled in our industry. These days I spend very little time on the floor and can usually be found bouncing from one store to another to check-in with our managers and staff or in and out of meetings. But on this particular Thursday and Friday, I had the rare opportunity to run the show at our new store, working by myself, 10am-8pm both days, old School Chris Farley style. This was the original shift I worked when my family and I bought the first Pacers store and I feared missing one single sale if I wasn’t working. Seven years ago our Old Town Alexandria manager called it the “Lebron James shift” (because Lebron is a one man team). As a diehard Wizards fan, I can’t stand Lebron and the Cavs. But as it relates to the stores, I loved the “Lebron James” shift.
It was awesome.
I am elated about the Princeton, New Jersey community. Have you been to Princeton, NJ? For years I thought it was just a college town that my father happened to grow up in. But Princeton’s beauty and charm stretch far beyond Nassau Street, the University, and the shops that keep the air buzzing. Did you know Albert Einstein’s house is located here? Who knew? Well, likely you knew, but I ran by it on our group run after work on Thursday and was surprised to learn of his residence and quite a few other Princeton facts shared by fellow fun-runners.
I am excited about our staff. My manager Brian is a long time college buddy of mine and his newly hired staff is top shelf. We have a total of six staffers that have started or gone through the “Pacers Bootcamp,” our exceptional employee training developed by our best minds to teach and re-teach our staff how to deliver the best possible experience for our customers. They all understand #ForEveryRun.
But mostly, I’m excited about our customers. They are eager to embrace us and share their passion for running in the same way we do. Our managers have roots here and have done a great job getting the word out. This community is excited about a community-based Specialty Run Store and we are in a hurry to service them.
So thank you Charlie and Andy for a great fun run last night.
Thank you Brian C. for making the trip with your family – can’t wait to see you run a low 34 min 10k this weekend.
Thank you Karen D. for supporting us – I am glad running has moved past yoga and spinning as your favorite form of exercise.
Thank you Lisa C. for coming over from the Trenton Expo. I promise those shoes will be fine for your race Saturday!
Thank you Alex R. for letting me help you find a pair of shoes to run the rest of the High School XC season in. Your knee will get better and you’ll kill it at sectionals.
Thank you Alysia and Eric P. I can’t wait to see you guys rocking those Pacers Princeton half-zips around Princeton. Alysia is going to make my JFK 50 mile time look pedestrian.
Thank you Maggie M. for making us your store to help you with your Philly Marathon training.
And thank you to everyone else who came in these past 2 days. Each of you reminded me why I’m in Specialty Run.
See you soon, Princeton. #ForEveryRun