It’s Wednesday night and the runners are back from Prospect park - the daily five miler is over.
An assorted sample of Brooklyn’s runners lingers at Brooklyn Running Company’s newest location, 480 Bergen Street, for a chat and a beverage. Despite being opened for barely three weeks, the shop emanates familiarity. A beaming chandelier makes the store brighter than its rustic, brick-laden parent on Williamsburg street, often likened to a whiskey bar, but the merchandise, the post-run elation, and certain faces are all recognizable.
“There are always good vibes at our store,” says general manager Steven Crnic, sipping on a beer, “because many running groups in the area meet here before and after their runs. This time of year, it gets quieter, but we still get good crews coming in.”
Brooklyn Running Company, a sister store of the Scranton Running Company – yes, the one you saw on Dwight Schrute’s mug in an episode of The Office - is the only independent running store in Brooklyn. Its popularity with runners of all levels from beginners to Olympic Trials competitors allowed it to expand to a second location, just 10 miles down the road from the first. Crnic, a 26-year-old former cross-country runner at New York University, says that the store thrives because it caters to people of all abilities.
“The running community is so diverse here,” he says, “so it’s to our advantage to be inclusive. Our customer base is beyond just fast runners. We’re here for them, and also for people focusing on health and wellness, as well as the walking community. A running store can sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.”
The shop merges fun and performance elegantly in its event schedule. Around Father’s Day, they organize the Brooklyn Mile, for those who want to go fast. In February, however, the store hosts a special runners’ holiday, simply for those who want to get away and have a laugh.
“One day we love to put on is our ‘Boycott Valentines’ day,” says Crnic. “It’s like a pub run, and a response to the hallmark, boring tradition of Valentine’s day. We run to bars, and people get drinks, instead of sitting down to a prefixed couples’ meal. We get a good turnout and it’s a lot of fun.”
The company makes sure that its customers are well equipped for those runs, whether they lead to a finish line or a pub stool. No matter their starting point, runners count on Brooklyn Running Company to continue distributing the running world’s best gear. The store is equipped with the latest technology in shoes - the Nike Vaporfly might be the store’s most coveted piece of merchandise - and in fuelling. Customers love Endurance Tap for its all-natural ingredients.
“People like the simplicity of Endurance Tap,” says Crnic. “I think it’s the maple syrup aspect that draws customers in, it’s very popular with us.”
Crnic takes pride in carrying novel product.
“It’s important for us to provide the best gear out there,” he says. “We want our customers to hit their goals, whatever they are.”
Whether the runners of Brooklyn are in it to achieve those goals, meet new people, or leave the house on Valentine’s Day, they know that as long as the Brooklyn Running Company stores continue to sprout, they are in good hands.
“Everybody we employ here is an avid community member,” says Crnic,” and they care about running as a culture. We want to use running to foster a strong community in Brooklyn. We love what we do.”