When I was a 17 year old senior, I did a work effort for the 4th quarter of the school year that for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called. Community service except that it had a better name for it. Anyway, I remember walking up to Hilary at Born to Run and asking her if I could work there for free. I had finished running my senior year only PR’ing in the 400 (I was a distance runner). I had peaked as a junior, but a few injuries, and then sincere lack of effort with the understanding running had run its course gave me no future in the sport. The point being that I didn’t give a shit about running, but needed a place to go to putz around for a few weeks instead of being in school.
The job demanded tying shoes, getting us lunch, and grabbing shoes from the back when a customer requested to try on a new pair. Mindless tasks for a 17 year old but what more do you expect from free help? For my service, after a few weeks she gave me a pair of Kayano shoes by Asics which were one of the most expensive pair in the store. The experience was limited, but I started a trend that, and I’m purely guessing here, people on the track tream from future years used her as a go to spot for community service. I was the trendsetter.
20 years later I still buy my shoes from her and wouldn’t go elsewhere. There are a few reasons, none of which come down to price, and it’s important to support people who you believe in their work ethic.
- History – As described above, corporate greed should not supersede personal relationships.
- Familiarity – I buy Altra running shoes. They fit my feet the best and leave zero blisters. She will always have a size 11 of the the Escalante in stock.
- Small Business Support – As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to battle billion dollar companies. They are soulless. If I can help someone I like, even if it means paying more money, I will and do. I must believe in why they doing it.
- Community – Her store benefits the community. Hillary has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of high school track athletes, hobby joggers, race enthusiasts, and whoever walks through those doors. She’s been doing it for a long time and her business benefits the community.
A few days ago I saw she opened up an E-Commerce website which we’ve been talking about for years that it would be a great idea. I offered to help bring it to fruition a while ago as a side hustle, but not only did I not have the experience, I didn’t have the time. Seeing the store on her website as I was successfully completely a transaction was cool. I’m happy to see the store is staying with the times and begin shipping nationally. If she wants to actively create content, this is a sustainable business model (I plan on sharing this post with her and would happily brainstorm what 39 year old washed up runners want). I share this story because it’s important in this age to know who you are giving your money to. Credit card companies take 3% of every transaction. Amazon is a behemoth of E-commerce. These streaming services will suck you dry. Shop local and support actual people instead of getting Bezos another 5 ft on his yacht. Any other stories of people who you support?