Today I sat in on a zoom call with fellow business owners and our local leaders Jeff Griffin of the Chamber and Mayor Paul Tenhaken to discuss the Safer Sioux Falls Pledge. I sent an email blast out about this earlier in the week when we signed the pledge. In truth, there is absolutely nothing within the pledge that we were not already doing at 605 Running Company, for the past five plus months when we re-opened for business. The leadership on our call pleaded for positivity in messaging. Pandemic fatigue is very real right now and if our recent city council meetings say anything, it says we are deeply divided as a community as to what we think our local government’s role should be at helping to get a handle on the spread of COVID.
Transparent, reliable and fun. Those are our core values here at 605 Running Company. Before I go any further into this post, in an effort to be transparent I want everyone to understand that I voted and supported Mayor Paul TenHakens campaign. This really isn’t a secret, as Paul has been a friend to the shop well before he got into politics. Just because we are friends and I voted for him doesn’t mean I agree with him on everything. If you know me personally and many of you do; you know that I have strong disagreements with certain decisions that have been made over the past eight months. This post isn’t meant to be political, but I wanted to put that out there in the beginning. Even though I’ve got my disagreements, I still support our Mayor. If you want to know the reasons why you can certainly reach out and I’d be happy to answer those questions.
Leadership is difficult. As a business owner, a manager, a board member, a father and a husband the best thing I’ve learned about leadership is to be a good listener. In 2020, even listening can be difficult. With so much information out there and so many voices screaming to be heard, listening is hard. As a runner I’ve learned how to embrace hard. I told a friend that I felt like I made five years’ worth of decisions in the past five months. Thankfully, I’ve surrounded myself with really smart people. So making all of these hard decisions has been less burdensome than it could have been. I empathize with our local leaders and I thank them all for their service to our community.
So what is my positive message that I can share?
For starters we are open for walk-in business. If you recall earlier this spring we did shut down for 8 weeks. The fact that we can open the door daily is truly something to be celebrated. I’ve also been working extremely hard on the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon for this spring. Given the positive news with potential vaccines and our ability to safely operate our business and host safe events, I have very high hopes that we’ll be able to conduct our race in a safe and thrilling way by April. We also have improved our abilities to reach our customers. A year ago today you wouldn’t have been able to shop our store online. Now everything we sell is available to you through our website. We are offering free shipping, curbside pickup or in-store pickup. These are all very positive things we can focus on here at the shop. Finally, we are hiring. This week I posted an open position for a new Assistant Store Manager. I’m optimistic that we will find our next great leader with this search.
To be completely honest with you all today I wanted to write a very downtrodden blog post about how business is going. Frankly, it hasn’t been great in October or November, but as you can see above we have a lot of positive things happening. If we as a community can come together and get through the next 8 weeks, I personally think we have a bright future here in Sioux Falls. I’m proud of the work my team has done to continue to fulfill our mission here at the shop. It hasn’t been an easy year and we have a lot of work to do, but I believe we live in a benevolent city that can overcome the challenges of this year and be stronger together. Our business is depending on it!
Greg Koch is the Co-Owner and General Manager of 605 Running Company and Produces the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon, SuFu Circuit Relay Race and the 605 Summer Race Series. He serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Sioux Falls, the 605 Race Crew and the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. When Greg isn’t with his family or working he enjoys being outside biking, kayaking, golfing or playing church softball.
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