Ann Ringlein, manager of Lincoln Running Company for 34 years, found running to be the perfect way to be around great people. Over the years, Ann watched the community and industry evolve. She noticed one thing remained constant throughout her experience in run specialty, the importance of having fun.
“43 years ago runners were a serious bunch,” Ringlein said. “The races were growing and the runners were a fast bunch - short shorts, racing flats, and just run! We have watched the community evolve slowly into more runners needing more stuff. They are definitely a more social group of runners and really more fun. Until 10 years ago we never had a group run, we never had runner events of any kind. Now, there is an event at the store every week, sometimes two times a week! We have classes all year long, we have long runs from the store all year long, we are supporting the runners in ways that never entered our minds 40 years ago.”
Since Lincoln Running Company opened its doors in 1976, it has remained to be one outstanding business. At first, the store operated in a small space, until three years ago when it doubled in size. This addition created a runner’s hangout, where shoppers can spend time together and socialize. The staff at Lincoln Running Company encourage new faces to come in and have fun.
“Being a small business owner means being involved, not only in the stores day-to-day operations but also in the lives of our customers,” Ringlein said. “We know pretty much everyone that walks in our doors, and if they are new customers we get to know them so we recognize them the next time they are in. We also know that taking care of the bottom line is what is going to keep us going - but taking care of the customers is what keeps the bottom line in check!”
For a store that’s been in the business for years, Ringlein and the owners have seen their share of change.
“Retail trends change constantly,” she said. “We have seen all the ebbs and flows in forty-two years of business. We have a pretty good sense of what is going on in the running world and retail world and what we have learned over all these years that right down the middle is that way to go. we adjust inventory and we listen to our reps, they have so much knowledge and don't lead us astray!”
Lincoln Running Company’s commitment to customer service matches their desire to create a strong community along with the other local businesses in downtown Lincoln. “Together we are stronger, and we have a thriving downtown,” Ringlein said.
At the end of the day, customers choosing to shop with Lincoln Running Company is the reason the store continues to grow.
“When they choose to come downtown to see us it is a very big compliment and we want to make sure they are happy they made the trip,” she said.