I pledge allegiance…to my running store?

“I pledge allegiance the store
at which I purchase my shoes
and to the customer service for which they give,
one store, under warranty, non-negotiable,
with shoes and gear for all.”

In the land of Buffalo running there are two sides of the road you can be on. Two running warehouses that preside over the thousands of runners in the area. Anyone who lives here and runs knows this. There is Fleet Feet in North Buffalo and Runner’s Roost in Orchard Park (Southtowns). Recently the third store that shared business with these two, Tri Spot in Williamsville, closed its doors without much ceremony stranding its loyal customers with a tough decision: Where do we go now? Logically they turned to their running buddies for recommendations.


Did you ever stumble upon a conversation and wish you didn’t? Recently there was a behemoth debate sparked by this question in one of the local groups (brought to my attention by a friend). A flurry of responses ensued with most of them completely bashing one store and elevating the other to a divine level. On BOTH sides of the debate. What was perhaps most interesting to me was that no one admitted to shopping at both places. Apparently it had to be one or the other! Does this mean that if you frequently shop at one store that you cannot go to the other? Moreover I had one person express guilt over buying something at an expo sponsored by the opposing store. In this area with the only two selections at opposite ends of the city you would think that the divide would be geographical only. People in the North go North, Southtowns people go South right? Not so. I’ve heard both sides offer up that they’d rather suffer the 45 minute drive to the store of their choice then visit the opposing one.

Now, tell me true:

  • Do not both businesses support your local community instead of some CEO at the end of a dotcom site?
  • Do not both improve the community by providing a valuable service of fitting people with running shoes so they can achieve wellness?
  • What factors could possibly ignite such passionate love/hate for a local specialty store?
  • Does it have to do with how accommodating they are to the local running community? Is it just how low their prices are? How often they offer sales or discounts? Or is it just plain and simple customer service that keeps you beating feet in?

One thought on “I pledge allegiance…to my running store?

  1. colleen

    I don’t know if all people fall under this category but for me a lot of my rabid loyalty or dislike of a store relates to the customer service experience. My local small bike store gave me a great fit and sold me a cheaper bike that was what I needed rather the more expensive first bike I tried out. I love them, but I would still go to the other cycle stores in the area if I were nearby. On the opposite end I have totally avoided a national brand of gas stations because they made their reward card so painful to use I ended up putting the card on their counter and saying heck with it if you can’t help your customers out I will take my business elsewhere.

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