Kim Chapman and Jason Page didn’t open a running store because they loved the idea of retail, they did it because they loved the idea of a running community.
10 years ago that running community was hard to find in Durham, North Carolina. But Chapman and Page saw the opportunity and put their plans together, opening Bull City Running in 2008, just as their daughter turned one-years-old and the global economy tanked.
“Lucky for us, the running industry proved to be more or less recession-proof,” Chapman said. “Regardless, the early days and years of any small business are defined by hard work and sacrifice. As our store and our team has evolved, we still challenge ourselves to keep focused, passionate, thinking big, and to keep it special -- for ourselves and for our community.”
Now celebrating the store’s 10th anniversary, Bull City Running has become a staple in the Durham community.
“The Durham community is special,” said Chapman. “It is a place that values relationships and connection, and has been incredibly supportive of local small business development. The growth of the local running community has kept pace with the larger community and grown tremendously over the past 10 years, but the fabric of this community remains much the same: diverse, inclusive, gritty, bold, and ambitious.”
Their philosophy for the store is simple: they don’t just sell stuff. Chapman, Page and their staff take pride in researching the best running-related products available, they become knowledgeable on everything they carry, and offer good, personal advice to their customers.
“We are rooted in the Durham community and we exist because of it,” she said. “We also run, eat out, drink local coffee and microbrew, grocery shop, get our hair cut, eat local produce, send our kids to public school, and own a home in our community. We love this community and we try to be a positive part of it.”
At its core, Bull City Running is a “come-as-you-are” kind of running store. They support countless community events including Kids Run Durham, which introduces kids to running in a safe, fun, and encouraging environment. They also produce and direct the ‘Tough as Trails’ off-road race series, which consists of four trail races each benefitting a local non-profit organizaion in the community.
“We thrive on being the hub of the local running community and we are proud to be a locally-owned, socially responsible, small business,” said Chapman. “We make a difference by being a solutions-oriented shop for runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts of all levels. Every day, we exist to exceed expectations of our customers, our community partners, and our staff.”
As retail trends change over time, Bull City Running aims to stay consistent with exceptional customer service that can’t be replaced by online shopping.
“Customers are more informed and aware of their options than ever before and most products are just a click away,” she said. “You can find many of the products we sell elsewhere, but you cannot find the kind of personalized customer service experience, expertise, and genuine care and attention to detail that we extend to each and every customer who walks through our door. We aim to make their day a little better, and we have fun doing it!”