Striders owner Jeff Jauch wasn’t always a runner. In fact, he was a smoker. Then, in 2006 everything changed. He witnessed his daughter, who suffered from Rett Syndrome, experience so much joy while being pushed and pulled along through a triathlon. It was then that Jeff decided to let go of his unhealthy habits and pick up the sport of running.
In 2007, Jeff and his daughter, Chelsea, ran their first race together. From there, he was hooked. The two continued to do numerous races together over the years until Chelsea passed away in 2013. Their time running together allowed Jeff to meet a great new community of runners and triathletes, and eventually led Jeff and his wife Paula to taking over the local running specialty shop.
“My wife had been praying to retire me from the world of painting contractors and find something that I was passionate about,” Jauch said. “I will never forget the morning that we felt prayers were being answered by the opportunity to buy our favorite running store, from a family who had become friends over the years. When the previous owner, Steve, and I first sat down and talked, he said, "You better start working in the store part time to make sure you like it." A few days later I went to work and I still haven't gone home! I love the idea of providing and supporting a community with all its running needs.”
Striders opened in Grandville, Michigan owned by the Websters in 1998. In 2016, Jeff and Paula took over as owners of the shop and strive to continue the level of superior service in the local community.
“The goal is that our staff will be able to help customers with any of their needs,” Jauch said. “We hope that they feel like they were given enough knowledge to make good decisions about the purchases they are making.”
The store also offers multiple annual training groups. From a couch to 5K program, Striders provides local runners with numerous opportunities to become involved. Striders has also brought the community together for 20 years through a 10-mile race to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer. “As the community has grown, so have the needs to keep evolving and supporting local events,” Jauch said.