Do you remember what you were doing four years ago?
Our store will be celebrating its fourth birthday this month!
Four years ago I was working full time for my parents at The Cookie Jar Eatery. My life was full of new things. I had recently graduated from college, gotten married and bought a house. You’d have a much better chance of finding me on a golf course in those days than out training for marathons. In fact I was barely a runner four years ago. My resume consisted of one half marathon and two 5k’s. So how did I end up as a part owner of the 605 Running Company?
Three brothers, two cities and the love of running. The Watley Brothers have a long history in both Sioux Falls and Lincoln, Nebraska. Four years ago Grant and Paul were both at the University of Sioux Falls while Logan had become a very active member with the Lincoln Running Company in Nebraska. With their combined experiences the brothers hatched a plan to create a running community center in Sioux Falls. A speciality outfitter helping runners of all abilities find success through the sport they had loved throughout their lives.
Back then things looked a little different in Downtown Sioux Falls too. We had a number vacancies up and down Phillips Avenue. I remember being very vocal in membership meetings for DTSF about the need for us to actively recruit more business to the block. Out of those meetings came the Downtown Incubator Program. The 605 Running Company was the first business to utilize this program.
I applied to work at the store part time on the nights and weekends. When I interviewed, Paul and the General Manager Wayne had a conversation about how they had already hired enough employees and that the plan was to meet me, but not hire me. After we walked through the unfinished store, chatted about the downtown business community and shared war stories about USF I was hired. Part time, nights and weekends. My personal goal was to save the money I made at the store for a new truck that I’d had my sights on (fun fact, I still don’t own that truck).
After a month in business Paul was presented with a job opportunity in is actual profession in Texas that he couldn’t pass up. With his departure came a job opening. Leaving the family business was a very difficult decision for me. I had worked in that bakery since high school and my parents had supported every turn my career had taken through college and as a budding young professional. Helping to build a new business from the ground up was the equivalent of graduate school for me. The Watley’s gave me unprecedented decision making abilities and tasked me with growing the business with a community first approach. A lot of the things we’ve done are very non-traditional, but our business is people and our profits are measured by our communities success and growth through running.
In four years as our business has grown and we’ve added more employees we’ve also been able to add private coaching services. Our store has sponsored and managed local races including our spring half marathon that was a major success. We have also worked with local running clubs Sioux Falls Women Run (which didn’t exist when we opened), Sioux Falls Area Running Club and the Prairie Striders Running Club to grow the sport. Finally, we’ve become better at what we do at the shop. Our hands on experience has made us better shoe fitters, our running resumes continue to grow which helps us add products that runners actually need and use. We are truly your local running specialty outfitters. My hope is that you view our shop as a place to go to be prepared to run, not just a place to go buy a thing.
Four years have gone by very fast. Like a graduating senior from high school our best days are certainly in front of us and not behind us. Believe me when I tell you we are just getting started and we have a ton of fun and exciting things planned for the future of 605 Running Company. I’m so humbled to be a part of this running community and cannot thank you all enough for your support of our business over the years.
Blog sponsored by:
Greg Koch is the General Manager/Co-Owner of the 605 Running Company. When he is not at the store he volunteers on the Sioux Falls Marathon Board and Co-Coaches his church softball co-ed team. Greg is an avid runner and enjoys being outdoors whenever possible. Follow Greg on Instagram @gregrun605