Each month, we'll feature one of our members to spotlight the story of their business and share what makes them unique.
Iowa Running Company
Iowa Running Company is embedded in the running community of Cedar Rapids. Owners Jim Dwyer and Clifton Trebil-Smith are both Iowa natives, Jim from Iowa City and Clifton from Waverly. The two opened Iowa Running Company in March 2017 on Third Street SE, a signature street that connects the Downtown core with Czech Village/New Bohemia. Jim and Clifton share more about the history of the business and how it enriches the running culture in Cedar Rapids.
What sparked you to open Iowa Running Company?
Clifton: We felt there was a void we could fill around the community aspect of running in Cedar Rapids. It was never about selling running shoes – we wanted to bring the running community together.
Jim: My parents are runners, they dragged me to my first 5K. They opened a running store called Running Wild in Coralville while I was in college, with the Cedar Rapids location opening shortly after. After they retired and closed the stores, it made sense for us to start Iowa Running Company since there were so many supportive runners here. With the changing landscape of retail and to beat the Amazon presence, we specifically chose to be a vibrant area that was close to trails.
What makes Iowa Running Company unique?Jim: We offer service you can’t get online or in a big box store. Our staff is trained in video gait technology, which analyzes customer’s running mechanisms. We have shoes for both runners and walkers, apparel, accessories, safety equipment like headlights and pepper spray, nutrition items and orthotics. Customers come to us to talk shop – if they’re training for their first 5K or a marathon, we find ways to help them reach their goals.
It can be intimidating for someone new to running to come into a store like ours, but we want to eliminate that fear. We welcome people of all abilities, no matter what their goals may be.
Do you feel that Iowa Running Company enriches the running culture in Cedar Rapids?Jim: That’s certainly the goal!
Clifton: We try to think of different ways for people to get involved. Last year we closed on Black Friday and partnered with Goldfinch Cyclery for a free event called Outdoor Buster, a 5K or 10K run or a 15K bike ride. There were over 200 people that opted outside in 2017, and we’re continuing the event this year.
Jim: Never Miss a Monday is a new program that started this summer. It’s a group run program, but really, it’s about people running when they can. We have a big chalkboard in the back of the store with everyone’s names and they leave a tally when they go for a run.
Learn more about Iowa Running Company’s products, events and other news on their website, IowaRun.com.