October 29, 2018

Square One Running Room is Closing!

by pyrad
Categories: General Running and/or Fitness
Tags: No Tags
Comments: 10 Comments

The official announcement was made by the district manager before run club on Wednesday, October 24: The Square One Running Room‘s last day of business would be November 24, 2018.

Front Entrance of Square One Running Room (photo from Google)

This is a sad milestone for me. This has literally been my “home away from home” for a long time.


MEMORIES ALONG THE RUN

My first day really running outside with a clinic was June 8, 2010. It was my first day of my half-marathon clinic. I met many friends that day who I’m still close with today. We ran 4km outside and I thought I was going to die!

I had to look back into my calendar to see the exact date when I started coming to the Square One Running Room. I noticed that my time there started right after I finished my Master’s Degree. I essentially said goodbye to the student campus life, social circles, and all those extra-curriculars and moved into this Runner’s community.

I’ve had a LONG journey with this Running Room since then. I led 9 clinics, went through 5 managers, and trained for all 11 full- and 30 half-marathons at this location.

There was a time where my whole life was scheduled around this Running Room. Don’t dare schedule anything for Wednesday nights because those were ALWAYS run nights! And Clinic night would be Tuesday or Thursday. And Sunday mornings too!

This Running Room has had its ups and downs. I’ve seen new waves of people come in and then leave. Sometimes big groups leave and form their own “independent” run clubs. Things change, this too shall pass, and all the other cliches about change all ring true.

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Miscellaneous memories at the Square One Running Room

STUMBLE STEPS

At least the Square One Running Room lasted this long. Some other running gear retailers like Runner’s Den closed their doors years ago. The Running Room’s at Port Credit, Brampton, Bramalea City Centre, and 4 other nearby locations have also closed in the last year. The Running Room stores at Argentina in Meadowvale is still open, as are the Oakville stores and 403/Dundas outlet.

I’m not awfully surprised that it closed. Brick and Mortar retail, especially high-margin specialized retail has been struggling to compete with the online sales trends. Consumers have been flocking to the lower prices and convenience of delivery to your door from Amazon or other online retailers. Even Running Room sells product through Amazon now.

And distance running may be on a bit of a downturn too. The Oprah Winfrey running boom wave may be winding down. People who wanted to do marathons as a bucket-list item may have checked that off and aren’t coming back. Some people aren’t finding their way into running because other exercise programs are trending up. There are many Orange Theory and F45 workout studios opening up, and that kind of indoor, guided, high-intensity workout seems to be en vogue at the moment.

And some people have moved on from Running Room to bigger and better things. Really serious runner’s migrate to more “elite” clubs like Runner’s Goals and Du Tri and Run. Others have moved onto triathlons and IronMAN events. Running Room was a place along their journey.

Back view of the Square One Running Room from Google Maps

NEXT STEPS

As some of you know, I enter a new phase of my life myself in mid-November; my wife and I are expecting our first child. Maybe this is prophetic too about entering a new phase. Our daughter may be born just in time to see the store close.

I certainly don’t think I’ll stop running because my local Running Room has closed. In fact, most runs I have done in the last year didn’t start or stop at the Running Room. It will just be very different, a little harder to get a group together without this geographical way-point.

This certainly won’t be the end for this local Running community. Ironically, the Internet may have shuttered the doors of the store, but the community may continue to stay in touch with the Internet and social media. There’s a Run Club called Back To Square One which trains for many events including relays like Ragnar. There s a Facebook group called Run With Your Heart that hopes to continue being a hub for the former Square One Running Room Community. And I’m sure other communities and social media groups will coalesce soon too. There’s a Panera’s Bread right next door that can continue to serve as the way-point.

But the influx if new people may be capped a bit. New runner’s aren’t randomly drawn to a coffee shop to meet other runners. It will take more word-of-mouth and personal contact to bring in any new blood.

If someone can profit from the closure of the Running Room, they will. If a coffee shop welcomed runners just a little, they’d get some regular customers through the door. If a chiropractor or physiotherapist office kept their lobby and bathroom open for a run club to meet, they’d have the ability to grab a lot of new customers. There’s a capitalist solution out there somewhere.


GOODBYE RUNNING ROOM

There is a special get-together planned for Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 6:30pm at the Square One Running Room, 55 Square One Drive, Mississauga. Apparently pizza and other snacks may be available. Come out and let’s send the Running Room off with style!




10 Comments »

  1. Robert Didier says:

    I too am saddened that RRSQ1 is closing it’s doors. It was a hub of activity that over the course of time has waxed and waned like the moon. Runners came and disappeared but the RRSQ1 was always there with open arms ready to harvest a new crop of runners. So long RRSQ1,goodbye, au revoir, goodbye until we meet again.

  2. Anita Shiels says:

    Thanks Paul over the years RRSQ1 has played a increment part of my journey with numerous mentors and confidants. It made me a better person, but unfortunately all good things must come to an end, somethings sooner than other. It will be a very sad day in November.

  3. A S says:

    Thanks Paul for the recap. Well said. Du Tri and Run is closed for now and Back to Square One (Back2sq1.org) is working to fill the void. Stay tuned.

  4. Dawn says:

    So sad that a place that brought like minded people together where great friendships were created is going to be no more. Although I rarely run with the groups there I met a lot of great people and made good to great friends and started my half-marathon and marathon journey.

  5. […] post about the Square One Running Room closing got over 250 hits! It’s going to be a change but I imagine I will continue to find ways to be […]

  6. Javaid Iqbal says:

    Thanks for the Recap Paul. It is really sad to hear about closing of this store, which had a big part in my running journey too.
    Interesting that world majors are gaining more popularity while the general long distance seems on a downward trend. Must be the marketing

    • I think there is some sort of polarizing going on in the running community: Those that are still in are going for the big prizes. Some of the smaller races are starting to dry out.

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