OFF AND RUNNING: As a homegrown running company, Tracksmith will soon have a bigger footprint with today’s opening of a Newbury Street store called the Trackhouse.
Just a short walk from the Boston Marathon finish line, the two-level, 3,000-square-foot space will also serve as offices for the 10-person team starting April 13. Runners and less athletic shoppers will find activewear and accessories including the new Twilight series of shorts and tops. The name is a reference to the twilight running meets that are held in April, May and June, said Tracksmith chief executive officer Matt Taylor.
In step with its name, the Trackhouse will have a runner’s lounge where training groups and racers will meet up before and after runs. Races will be live-streamed, and a library houses performance-related reads. The build-out of the new location at 285 Newbury Street was minimal since Tracksmith painted the walls its team colors two years ago for a pop-up store. The opening is timed as a lead-up to the April 17 Boston Marathon.
Aside from being a busy shopping area, Newbury Street and the surrounding area is the city’s hub for runners with the marathon expo and finish line nearby as well as easy access to Charles River running path and other running points in Boston. With many Boston runners “having gym memberships just to have a locker and a shower,” the Trackhouse is going to offer bag checks for runners who want to hit the streets before or after work, or during their lunch breaks, Taylor said. With sampling and product development being done on-site, the Tracksmith team will be able to get immediate feedback. “A lot of running clubs are meetIng down in that area. It’s the place to be if you want to be a running brand in Boston.”
For Boston Marathon weekend, he has lined up Olympic-runner-turned-underground-sushi-chef Michael Stember to do the honors at a private dinner in the new space on April 13. (Stember’s Sushi Belly Tower is said to be opening a downtown store in New York.) To appeal to more seasoned Boston runners, the company will re-create its own version of the Eliot Lounge on April 15, which was a runners’ hangout for 50-plus years and a race day institutions where marathoners could get a post-race free beer. Tracksmith staffers will be cheering for head of logistics Eric Ashe at this month’s marathon — who ran 2:17.06 at last year’s Olympic trials.
With select distribution in specialty running stores in Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C./Virginia, Tracksmith is still sold primarily through its own resources. “If a customer or a potential customer walks in or out of that store, and later decides they want to buy Tracksmith, they still have to buy from us at that store, online, or out of the catalogue. Our focus is more on creating a specific experience,” Taylor said.
Another Marathon weekend opening will give athletes and nonrunners alike insight to the 26.2-mile race. The documentary “Boston: An American Running Story” premieres April 15 with the help of narrator Matt Damon. Runner’s World will have a pop-up shop April 14 – 16 at 899 Boylston Street, featuring talks with Olympians such as Shalane Flanagan, group workouts and exclusive Runner’s World merchandise apparel for sale.