Small Business: The ‘sole’ of outdoor recreation: Danville’s downtown store specializes in shoes for outdoor adventures and more | Business premises

SUSAN ELZEY Special to Registry & Bee

Ten years ago, Adam Jones was stuck in traffic on Interstate 40 after driving to Raleigh, North Carolina to buy running shoes.

It occurred to him then that he couldn’t be the only person in Danville who needed a closer place to buy shoes for outdoor recreation.

And the idea for The Brick Running & Tri Store in downtown Danville was born.

“At that time there was a lot of talk about revitalizing downtown Danville and the River District, building the new YMCA and expanding the Riverwalk Trail, so I wanted to be in the heart of Danville,” Jones said. , the owner of The Brick.

He said the store’s name was created on a napkin as he sat in a red lobster and referred to back-to-back training across two disciplines in a workout, called “brick”.

“At The Brick, our saying is ‘The Brick is where you never hit the wall,'” he explained.

People also read…

The store specializes in selling footwear, apparel, equipment and nutrition to walkers, runners, triathletes, swimmers and, more recently, cyclists.

“Our core line is footwear,” said store sales specialist Michael Nichols. “From walking to standing at work, we basically tailor shoes to a person’s needs. For the Goodyear worker, we have composite toe shoes, and for servers, we have non-slip shoes.

Nichols said the store was “blessed” to get through the pandemic.

“We had complications along the way on everything from restrictions, such as limited capacity, to supply chain issues, but we got through it,” he said.

The store has five employees in addition to Jones, and all of them have been involved in some type of running before.

Group outdoor activities

As part of its commitment to outdoor recreation, The Brick is the meeting place for weekly groups of walkers, runners and evening cyclists.

“The Wednesday night group walk at 6 p.m. has 10 or more people of all ages and all kinds of paces,” sales specialist Emily Wallace said. “They just show up and walk about 3 miles. They are as friendly as can be.

Another running group meets at the store at 6 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s the same thing but running,” Wallace said. “There are all kinds of paces, from a 12-minute mile to a seven-minute mile.”

A chart at the back of the store lists all the races going on in the area.

“Anyone who walks in can see the local races,” Nichols said. “We like to promote health and well-being.

He explained, however, that a person doesn’t have to be a runner to be helped by them.

“We helped people in wheelchairs and canes get the shoes they needed,” he said.

Wallace said the store carries about 120 different types and brands of shoes and inserts. They also have an Aetrex machine that customers walk on to analyze what type of insert they need for any type of shoe.

“These custom insoles have been very popular,” Wallace said.

Other products include swimming accessories.

“We have a wetsuit program when people want to swim in open water,” Nichols said. “We have a rental program that will save hundreds on the purchase of this equipment.”

To ride a bike

Since December, The Brick has been offering bicycles and all accessories, as well as bicycle repair.

“A local bike shop closed and we started getting a lot of calls about bikes, so we switched to bikes,” Nichols said. “Not everyone can or wants to run.”

He said the store now sells mountain bikes, road bikes and a type of hybrid bike.

“We get a lot of customers who use the Dan Daniel bike trails, and the Riverwalk is also bike-friendly,” he said of Danville’s popular stretch and trail system. “We have bikes and accessories ranging from repair kits to inner tubes, tires and helmets.

“We also have a repair shop with a certified repair mechanic. It’s been very popular lately, so if you have a bike that’s been in the garage for two years, bring it.

He said they try to keep the bikes at an economy price of around $800.

The store has also set up a bike group to meet on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.

“We’re still working through the issues on that,” Wallace said.

‘Only place’

Steve Scott, a runner, is among the store’s satisfied customers.

“The Brick is the only place to pick up shoes because of the service,” he said one day when he was in the store browsing. “I probably bought 100 pairs of shoes here, pants and hats.”

He likes the store for reasons other than their products, though.

“Adam is very runner-friendly,” he said. “I started running with kids with disabilities and contacted Adam. He was supportive and cool about it.

But, he adds, he always looks at the shoes when he’s in the store.

Wallace said the misconception is that you have to be a runner to wear good shoes, but she just put her mother, who is a nurse, in a good pair of shoes.

“People from all over Danville come here. One client is a walking judge, and there’s an older gentleman who has Parkinson’s, and we see a lot of people with a doctor’s referral,” she said. “Anyone and everyone can enter.”

Elzey is a freelance writer for the Danville Register & Bee. She can be contacted at [email protected]

Wiley C. Thompson