Why you Should Shop Mill City Running
Just over the Mississippi River from downtown, Northeast Minneapolis is getting a locally owned running store! Mill City Running will open their doors to runners of all kinds on July 6, 2013. Located at 411 E Hennepin Ave, the specialty store is owned and operated by the dynamic running duo of Jeff and Bekah Metzdorff. As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I was elated when they offered to give me a tour of the soon-to-be-finished space.
The shop looks more like a Greenwich village boutique than a running store. You won’t find slat walls or the indoor/outdoor carpeting that cover so many running retailers. You won’t find bulky benches, or cardboard boxes filled with last years clearance items. The entire space looks how you want to run – sleek, efficient and beautiful.
You will find 100 year old exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and 16 foot, pressed tin ceilings. Guests will sit in reclaimed University of Minnesota gym seats as they get fitted for their shoes. The shoes themselves will be displayed on industrial metal and glass, backlit shelves that were perfectly designed for the space by the former tenant (thanks Miyagi!).
The entire experience is designed to encourage runners to enjoy the space and participate in the community.
Participating in the Community
When you go to their website, you’ll find their mission statement.
Welcome: Newbies and veterans, tortoises and hares, clueless and proficient, old dogs and young bucks, champions and injured, realists and dreamers. We want everyone to feel welcome: walkers, runners, yogis, cross fitters, cyclists, and human beings. Our aim is to support each person we encounter and to help them achieve their goals in whatever way we can; shoes, clothing accessories or camaraderie.
Simply put, they want to offer great customer service, expert advice, group runs, clinics, and anything else they dream up. When I met with them, they were incredibly open to suggestions and ideas about how to add value to the running community in NE Minneapolis. Jeff said, “we’ve got lots of ideas, some good, some not so much. The point is we want to encourage people on their path.”
He went on to say, “We want to be a place where the novice ‘I’m not a runner’ types feel comfortable asking all the questions they need to.” Since they will have a smaller staff, each team member is highly knowledgeable not only about shoes, but running and general fitness as well.
What They Will Carry
Mill City Running will carry shoes from;
(they offer way more now… stop in and see!)
As well as clothing and other accessories from;
If you don’t see your brand on that list, don’t worry. They hope to have them soon. In the meantime, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to try one of these more innovative brands. Bekah told me about their liberal 30 day return policy which, as she puts it “gives us the opportunity to make sure you love the shoe.” You can’t get that service online.
Also, they plan to offer free gait analysis. They will be setup to analyze your running mechanics on a treadmill, and offer suggestions for improvement. They’ll also have a loyalty program where you can earn dollars towards new shoes and gear for every dollar spent in the store.
About the Owners
Together, Jeff and Bekah have more than 15 years of running retail experience. They’ve both worked at Run n’ Fun before launching MCR. In college, Jeff was a standout at Hamline University, earning All American honors in the 10k (and currently holds the school record). Bekah ran at Colorado State before transferring back to the University of Minnesota to run with her sisters. They still compete in road races (Jeff is running Grandma’s tomorrow), and are heavily involved in the Twin Cities running scene.
I can’t wait for Mill City Running to open! We’ll be hosting a run on the morning they open, so feel free to join us (details to come).
What ideas do you have for Jeff and Bekah to make the most of Mill City Running?
Nathan currently lives in Portland, but works in Minneapolis and runs wherever he is. Favorite Minnesota running route is anything that takes him along the Mississippi River.
Nathan's day job is as a senior consultant with Leadership Vision Consulting in Downtown Minneapolis.