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Meet Chris Brown of Out & Back Running

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Brown.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
It all started as a crazy thought. I found myself working in a good job that I found very unfulfilling. I began looking into the idea of opening a running store in September 2020. I started looking at retail spaces and began conversations with shoe manufacturers.

After several months of research and planning, I put together a business plan based on the research I had done. I picked a location and began the process of diving into opening a Run Specialty retail store.

The process was far from linear. There were lots of hiccups along the way. Delays in construction, shoe manufacturer supply chain issues, and the inability to find any apparel were all things in those early moments that felt much like my train was derailing.

We persevered and opened on 11/20/21 with a few fewer brands than we had hoped. After 8 months we are still fighting some of those same battles. However, we have seen the business grow and feel very optimistic about our future.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Definitely not.

The Covid resurgence last summer and the impact it had on production in parts of Vietnam led to fewer options for my customers which has been an uphill battle, to say the least.

Marketing has been another struggle that we are still working through. As a new business owner, I never realized exactly how difficult it is to get your brand or name out to the public. Finding ways to grow awareness on a budget is not easy.

We’ve been impressed with Out & Back Running, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are Harnett County’s only run specialty store. We offer running shoes, electronics, apparel, and accessories. We aid our customers in finding the right shoe for their feet and needs.

We don’t just want to sell you a pair of shoes. We want to sell you the right pair of shoes for you. I am most proud of the positive reactions we get from people who buy a pair of shoes and love them.

When they realize that the right shoe is what makes the difference. Honestly, we just want your readers to know that we are here and ready to help them find the shoes they need.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I think there was some bad luck with the Covid shutdowns in Vietnam.

I think it has been good in that it forced us to keep things a little tighter and focus more on the customer experience rather than our brand offering.

We feel that adding brands going forward only makes our work easier.

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Image Credits
Kelly Duncan

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