A new running shop is about to open in the running mecca of Boulder, Colo.
Henry Guzman, the former footwear buyer at Boulder Running Company’s original Boulder store, is opening a new running store in another part of the storied running mecca. Located at the south end of town, Run Boulder will be a 3,000-foot, running specialty shop that will cater to all levels of runners, walkers and outdoor enthusiasts, he says.
Guzman, 50, is partnering with the R.L. Smith and Tricia Veith, the husband-and-wife duo that opened In-Step Boulder in 2009. That shop has primarily operated as a custom athletic insole shop, but it has also sold some running gear, apparel and accessories. The custom insole business will remain, but the store is being converted to a more of a full-service running shop in the next three weeks, he says.
“I’ve built my career off of serving this community and doing things for Boulder,” Guzman says. “Who knows Boulder from that point of view better than I do? I just want to do what I do, be what I am and continue to be a part of this great running community and the running industry.”
The store is located within a few miles of several South Boulder trailheads and close to the Fairview High School track. It is in a shopping complex that includes a cycling shop and a climbing/mountaineering store, as well as three popular restaurants often frequented by running groups. Guzman is planning a soft re-opening during the weekend of Aug. 1-3 to coincide with the first Boulder Ironman event on Aug. 3. Group runs, training groups and other running-related events will follow, Guzman says.
Guzman worked at Boulder Running Company for 15 years until being let go late last month. During his tenure be became one of the most influential shoe buyers in the running industry as Boulder Running Company became one of the country’s most prominent shops. The store, founded in 1996, has helped shape numerous industry trends and was the inaugural winner of the Best Running Store in the U.S. award in 2006 by the Independent Running Retailer Association.
Guzman says he has prominent athletes and running industry officials among his silent investors.
“Running specialty is about being connected to the community,” Guzman says. “If you’re not connected to the community or if you’re constrained by anything, you’re not going to make it as a specialty shop. My motivation has always been ’if it’s good for the community and good for running, let’s do it.’ It’s not about worrying what you’ll get out of it as a business, it’s about serving the local community in what they want and what they need.”
Denver-based Running Specialty Group (RSG) bought the three Boulder Running Company stores in 2013 for a reported $7.4 million as part of a large roll-up of running specialty stores across the U.S. RSG, primarily owned by mall-based running retail giant The Finish Line Inc., has bought or started 59 running specialty shops in the past two years.
In addition to the Boulder Running Company store, Boulder also has three other running shops within its city limits: Fleet Feet Boulder, the Newton Running Lab and a Sports Authority Elite store.
Boulder is home to an avid running population and has been a training base for elite athletes since the early 1970s when Olympic champion Frank Shorter moved to town. Aside from Shorter, other legendary runners who live in town include Mark Plaatjes, the 1993 world champion in the marathon, Steve Jones, a former marathon world record-holder, Constantina Dita, the 2008 Olympic marathon champion, Arturo Barrios, a former world record-holder in the 10,000-meter run and Lorraine Moller, the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon. Emma Coburn, Kara Goucher, Jenny Simpson and Jason Hartmann are among the current top-tier runners who live in Boulder.