Running Room to move west Edmonton store after 27-year run

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A retailer and home base for local runners is ending a marathon run in its west Edmonton home.

The Running Room in Edmonton’s Callingwood South neighbourhood is moving out after operating at the location for more than 27 years, president and CEO John Stanton told Postmedia.

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The lease for the space was up for renewal, but the landlord chose not to continue with the retailer, which sells shoes, apparel and accessories for runners and walkers, he said.

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“It was kind of a shock to us,” Stanton said. “We’ve got a very loyal following that we’re blessed with, so it was disappointing for us when the landlord wouldn’t renew.”

The store operates in a shopping complex located along 69 Avenue at 178 Street that’s owned by Investors Group, management company Centrecorp said in a site plan for the property.

Postmedia contacted Centrecorp for comment on the leasing decision but did not receive a response.

However, the City of Edmonton lists an October building permit “to construct interior alterations for a retail cannabis store” in the space.

‘Absolutely golden’

The Running Room, which has stores across Canada and the United States, has been operating out of the Callingwood South property since May 1995, Stanton said, adding that many people have used that location and others in the chain as a meeting place for running clinics and clubs over the years.

Steven Lakey told Postmedia he has been running out of the west Edmonton location since December 1997 after being involved with groups at stores in Edmonton and Vancouver.

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But the groups he met out of the Callingwood South location have a uniquely magnetic quality, he said.

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“There was a camaraderie that was absolutely golden at Callingwood that other people have said they’ve never found anywhere,” Lakey said. “We had a very, very strong social network —  going out for gatherings after runs, but also parties, picnics, you name it.”

At times, about 80 people would meet at the store for Sunday morning runs, and up to 50 on Wednesday evenings, with some joining from as far away as Duffield, a community 50 kilometres west of Edmonton, he said.

“It’s quite small now compared to how it used to be, but to a great extent those social connections from the past 10, 15, 20 years are still maintained,” Lakey said.

One more run

In the meantime, Stanton said runners will have access to a southwest Running Room store at Rabbit Hill Road and Mullen Road, about 13 kilometres away, until the company finds a new location for the Callingwood South store — ideally in the same neighbourhood.

“We’ve had a very loyal following,” Stanton said. “We want to make sure we maintain that connection with them as well.”

A location close to the store’s soon-to-be former home could help runners maintain their local meeting spot, and maybe allow groups to spark as in “the old days,” Lakey said.

But before then, community members who based their runs out of the location will be lacing up for one more round on Sunday before the store moves out.

“I suppose it’s a small, symbolic last run,” Lakey said. “It’s also going to be an opportunity for people to come together.”

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