Buyout of local running stores causes confusion for customers
Posted October 13, 2015
Updated October 14, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A trio of locally owned running stores across the Triangle were recently purchased by a major corporation, but that change is not apparent to customers, and small business advocates worry that shoppers will be confused.
"It can be a little deceiving to the consumer when you think you are supporting a local, independent business and you are really supporting a national chain," said Jennifer Martin, executive director of Shop Local Raleigh.
Martin said she was one of those confused when she made a purchase from Raleigh Running Outfitters on Six Forks Road.
Both that store and a Cary location owned by the same couple were sold in January to the Running Specialty Group - a division of Finish Line. The same company bought Capital Run Walk in Cameron Village and more than 70 other independently-owned running stores across the nation.
Runologie, in downtown Raleigh, is currently the only local and independently owned running shop in the city, Martin said.
Clayton Roberts said he frequents Raleigh Running Outfitters. "I like the store because it is convenient and local," he said.
The sale, Roberts said, is “not surprising, but it is a little shocking."
Knowing the store has changed hands may change his habits. "I think it is actually important to help the local community and the local business that are local," Roberts said.
The business names, web sites and employees did not change after the buyout. On the Raleigh Running Outfitters website, the "about us section" shows a photo of the previous owner and tells the story of how the business was started.
A spokesperson for Finish Line told WRAL News that the company plans to rebrand the stores they have acquired across the country and rename them to JackRabbit.
The rollout will start in New York City and the stores will continue to support local events, the spokesperson said.