A new running specialty shop has opened its doors in Boulder, Colo.
Henry Guzman, the former footwear buyer at Boulder Running Company’s original Boulder store, has opened a new running store in another part of the storied running mecca. Located at the south end of town, Flatirons Running is a 3,000-foot, running specialty shop that will cater to all levels of runners, walkers and outdoor enthusiasts, he says.
Guzman, 50, has partnered with the R.L. Smith and Tricia Vieth, 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 remains, but the store has been converted to a full-service running shop.
“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. The store re-opened the weekend of Aug. 1-3 to coincide with the first Boulder Ironman event, but a grand opening event is planned for mid-September. Weekly group runs, training groups and other running-related events are already underway. The store drew more than 100 high school runners at its recent “XC spike night” event.
Guzman worked at Boulder Running Company for 15 years until being let go in June. 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.
In addition to the Boulder Running Company store and Flatirons Running, Boulder has three other running shops within its city limits: locally owned Fleet Feet Boulder and the Newton Running Lab, plus a Sports Authority Elite store.
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 over the past two-plus years.
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 and Jenny Simpson are among the current top-tier runners who live in Boulder.