When the Brooklyn Running Co. opens in early November, the borough may get its first real Brooklyn-style specialty running shop. “We’re going to focus on really serving the needs of the running and fitness community in Williamsburg and all of Brooklyn,” says Matthew Rosetti, who’s opening the shop with partner Matthew Byrne.
The duo of Matts, who also own Scranton Running Co. in Pennsylvania, are hoping to open on Grand and Driggs by Marathon Weekend, and they’re focused on creating a store that doesn’t intimidate, actively participates and gives back to the community, and feels of like a Brooklyn spot you’d want to be.
To that end, they gutted and restored the location, which is set in a building dating to the 1880s. Matt and Matt restored brick walls and tin-paneled ceilings and brought in a 40-foot-wide shoe wall (which is apparently large, as far as shoe walls go), made from reclaimed wood. And a 60-foot-long stretch of actual rubber running track made to look like the Williamsburg Bridge path will run through the center of the store.
More important than aesthetics, says Rosetti, will be the way the staff creates an atmosphere that makes 5K virgins feel just as at home as triathletes. “We are going to be singularly obsessed with product knowledge and over-serving our customers,” he says. “It’s really about creating an environment where anyone of any ability feels comfortable.” Lots of stores say this and still scare newbies away, so we’ll be impressed if they can pull it off.
And it will help them with their other big goal: becoming an integral part of the Brooklyn community. “We’re going to be out in the community at races, working with nonprofits, and finding ways to give back,” Rosetti says. It’s a strategy that’s bound to bring in customers, since the new Williamsburg community is now teeming with workout spots. Indoor cyclists, Megaformer junkies, and CrossFit-heads need sneakers, too. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.brooklynrunningco.com