When he was in the third grade, RUNdetroit owner Justin Craig finished first in his class mile fitness test. His enthusiasm for the sport faded about as quickly as he ran that mile - as soon as he learned he couldn’t join the track team until 5th grade. From there, his running “career” went dormant for the next 20 years - until life intervened.
While working in the medical field, Craig picked up running again as a way to deal with work stress. “I quickly realized how much I loved running, and how much I didn’t love my job,” he said.
Through some luck and a bit of risk, Craig left his career in medicine to help two friends open a shop in Seattle called West Seattle Runner. After three years there, he and co-owner Alia Polsgrove decided to move to her home state of Michigan to open their own shop.
Five years after opening RUNdetroit in the heart of Midtown, Justin and Alia still strive for an old-fashioned customer service experience. They know their products and know how to convey their knowledge in a way that makes the customer feel as if they are a part of the team.
“Too often specialty retailers can have an elitist atmosphere,” Craig said. “We’re bringing back that old school trust to retail. We don’t sell anything. First and foremost, we provide a service. None of our staff receive a commission and there’s never a pressure to buy. This relaxed atmosphere is somewhat rare these days.”
RUNdetroit owns several running events such as the Grand Prix 5000 which takes place on the Detroit Grand Prix track. They offer race support for other events like the Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon, MOTTEP and the Arthritis Foundation’s ‘Jingle Bell Run’. As of 2016, RUNdetroit has been the official Gel Sponsor for the Detroit Free Press Marathon by providing 26,000+ gels for the marathon and both half marathons. In addition to races, they provide many lunch & learn events on topics such a running form, shoe fitting and injury prevention & treatment to area businesses and running groups.
While running shoes are their specialty, the staff at RUNdetroit can help anyone find the perfect fitting shoe - whether you’re walking, hitting the gym, or just want something comfortable. On top of that, they carry any accessories you could need from apparel, to sunglasses, hydration bottles and more.
“For me, this is about way more than selling shoes,” Craig said. “Truthfully, there’s an element of ego to this. To see people running along the Detroit Riverwalk in a shoe that I know they got from our store makes me really happy.”