Thursday, May 24, 2007 marked the ‘grand opening’ of Moorestown, New Jersey’s newest retail establishment, the Moorestown Running Company. The Moorestown Running Company (MRC) is the third in a series of locally-owned and operated stores geared for the specific needs of cross country and track and field athletes. Those of us who are Moorestown residents will no longer have to make the trek to the Haddonfield Running Company in the borough of Haddon Heights to have our childrens’ cross country (spring) and track and field (hurdles!) shoes selected specifically and very carefully for our young runners. (The third store is located in Mullica Hill, New Jersey). My younger daughter, the six footer, runs the hurdles each spring (walks over them?!), and every year of her high school career we dutifully made the trip to the Haddonfield shop to get the perfectly-sized, perfectly-spiked shoes for her sport.
MRC is centrally located right in the heart of Moorestown at 115 West Main Street, next door to local landmark Peter Pan Bakery. (Their telephone number is 856/234-9371. If you’re a truly dedicated runner looking for serious training help or supplies, call them!) There is limited parking on Main Street itself, but the township’s large municipal parking lot on Second Street is located directly behind the store, with a separate entrance. The space occupied is that of the former news stand the candy company, and was extensively revamped. “We had a vision that we could take two of the older stores on Main Street and tear down the wall between them”, said Bickel. “That way we could create a whole new open space. We had the combined talents of Donachy Architects (a Moorestown-based firm) to create the original plans for the store from the footprint. Wendy Holden and Associates were prominent in designing a warm, welcoming and high tech interior space. We contracted with Close Construction to tear the original space apart and then carefully reconstruct it to fit our vision. The result is terrific, a very appealing store physically, and an asset to the town.”
One of the reasons that Moorestown was named the 2005 “Top Town” in America by Money Magazine was its proximity to and availability of outdoor activities, including running. The local high school will be completing its first and very own running track/ nature trail by September, 2007. The track, which was funded largely by donations from the Moorestown Track Club, will be the first and starting point for a series of running trails throughout the town. While Moorestown High School is most notably known for its girls’ lacrosse, field hockey, tennis and girls’ volleyball programs (all of which are currently again State Championship teams), the sports of cross country and track and field have been consistently growing in both popularity and numbers. This year’s girls’ spring outdoor track program won the county Liberty Division for the first time since 1998; the girls’ cross country program has an unbroken, consecutive State record of 143-0 batch meets to date. 15% to 25% of each year’s MHS graduating class have received full or partial scholarships to continue their track careers in college.
Opening Day at the MRC started with a store opening at 10:00 A.M., with the inagaural (and first weekly) Store Run/Walk taking place at 6:30 P.M. Store owner Robert Bickel is the President of the Moorestown Track Company, a long-time long-distance runner himself starting from his own high school days, and the parent of one of Moorestown High School’s most accomplished female runners, Allison Bickel, currently a student (and runner) at Washington University in St. Louis. Several dozen local runners participated in the inaugural run, which will be a weekly event in the future. The runs will start at 6:30 P.M. every Thursday evening; the MRC has gone to the effort of mapping out several different runs and walks of distances ranging from 2 1/2 miles to over 6 miles in order to accommodate the “wide range of skills and goals of the local community”, said Bickel. “Runs held at the Haddonfield store take place every Wednesday night and have been very popular.” Participating in the runs is not limited to store customers; runners throughout the southern New Jersey area are encouraged to take part. Those who are beginning runners or have never taken part in a run are encouraged to join the fun as well by either walking, jogging or running as far as they feel comfortable.
The MRC carries a full selection of footwear and apparel, as well as Oakley and Native sunglasses, watches, heart rate monitors from Nike and Polar, and a variety of nutritional items. Over fifty styles and models of high-quality running and walking shoes are available, including Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Champion, Craft, Fila, Puma, Sugoi, Saucony, Moving Comfort, Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, Pearl Izumi and prArma. Shoes are broken down into three categories: those for folks who are simply looking for comfortable walking shoes, those for athletes in serious training and competition, and racing shoes.
Why shop at the MRC rather than the chain stores? The service is superb and personal, the prices extremely competitive, and the selection of options available is, quite simply, amazing. The stored is manned by a young, cheerful, helpful and fully trained staff of folks who are runners themselves. “We use the eight-step “Right-Fit” process to make sure that your shoes meet both your needs and goals”, Bickel added. “As every runner knows, having the right shoes and the right fit makes a tremendous difference in your performance.” Both Bickel and co-owner Dave Walsh have a combined total of over seventy years’ worth of running experience between just the two of them. Store employees are all current cross country/track athletes as well.
Stop by the locally owned and operated Moorestown Running Company store in the heart of Moorestown’s Main Street to see for yourself just how special this retail business truly is. Each of us knows of the health and emotional benefits of exercise, especially walking and running. The friendly folks at the Moorestown Running Company are eager, willing and more than able to help you get started!