The Greater Boston Running Company, 45 Main Street, is all about injury prevention, according to Manager Tom Poland. The new specialty store that carries shoes, apparel and gear is located at the former site of J.L. Coombs and Dahers.
The Andover store, owned by the Running Specialist Group, is one of four Greater Boston locations. Runner Gene Mitchell founded the company with the opening of the Princeton Running Company in 1998. All stores are named for the region or city where they are situated. The other Greater Boston stores are located in Lexington, Newburyport and Hingham.
Poland said that local runner and District Manager Steve Meinelt saw Andover as a prime location because of its Division I High School sports and local running clubs.
"It is a great location for us, and I believe we will do very well here," he said.
Poland, who has been with the company for 11 years, was transferred from New Jersey to manage the Andover store. He now lives in town.
The store caters to runners, walkers and triathletes and carries a wide colorful selection of shoes, tech apparel, energy food, baby joggers, reflectors, hydration, electronic monitors and injury prevention gear.
Stressing the right shoes and injury protection, the store offers free gait analysis. "We want our customers leave with the proper shoe," explained Poland. He said most ofl his staff are runners, as well as extremely knowledgeable.
The gait analysis utilizes a treadmill, video camera and the latest software that allows customers to see their pronation (outward rolling) or supination (inward) when running, Poland explained.
"The customer rolls up his or her pant cuffs, and we are able to visually check their gait when they are walking. After measuring their feet, we go downstairs and grab a couple of different shoes for them to try." he explained. Once the correct size and comfort is determined, the customer can go on the treadmill, and after 30 seconds, stop the camera, and actually see the foot's position for each shoe, he said.
Although they try to stock all colors, Poland said he can special order a shoe that is listed on a brand's website. The Greater Boston Running Company carries Brooks, Nike, Saucony, Adidas, New Balance and Mizuno.
The store also has a community board with information about local runs and professional services including physical therapy and trainers. Greater Boston also sponsors a group run every Thursday night at 6pm. Right now, there are two defined 3.74 and 5.98 routes, but Poland expects that they will change up the routes in the spring.
The company recently launched their new website, run.com, where customers can find useful articles about training, proper gear, and nutritional advice, he explained.
The Andover store currently has up to 50% sale racks for summer apparel and will discount shoes once updated by the manufacturers.
The hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm, Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sunday, 12-5pm. The phone number is 978-296-4927, and there is a local Facebook page.