The Birmingham running scene is alive and thriving, thanks in part to the renowned running specialty shop, Trak Shak. The original store opened in a little house in May 1995 by Valerie McLean. Initially, each room housed different product - Living room for footwear, rear bedroom for women’s apparel. There was also a small, cement oval track in the backyard where customers could test shoes. Back then, the store was more of a destination shop. Now with two stores in the Birmingham area, Trak Shak has its sights on expanding to a third location for 2019. Today, Trak Shak’s several locations offer a hospitality and friendliness that helps them stand out amongst the rest.
“I think to survive as a small business, you have to prove your value to your community,” said owner Jeff Martinez. “And we strive to do that each week by hosting and sponsoring local events, stocking the latest in running apparel, accessories, and footwear, and simply communicating with our local runners to see what they need.”
In addition to the retail store, Trak Shak allows provided a race timing service which has allowed them to be involved in virtually every local race, which has almost quadrupled since the store opened in 1995.
“I feel like our commitment to the community helps us stay solid during evolving trends,” Martinez said. “We learned that lesson during the economic crisis a few years ago. If your community sees and feels your value and commitment, you don't necessarily have to react to every trend, rather stay the course.”
The store strives to be more than just another retail shop, but more of a community fixture.
“We are a running shop in the truest sense of the title,” Martinez said. “Not big box and no gimmicks. We are very picky about the products we carry for our customer's sake, and we will always put our community first.”