The Boulder Running Company joins Gart's Running Specialty Group

Denver-based Gart Companies announced Monday that its running retail division (Running Specialty Group) has acquired the locally based Boulder Running Company.

The Boulder Running Co.’s flagship store on the corner of Pearl and 28th Streets in Boulder was started by world class South African runners Johnny Halberstadt and Mark Plattjes in 1996 .

The other two store locations are at 8116 W. Bowles Ave. in Littleton, and 3659 Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs. Halberstadt and Plattjes won the Esprit Entrepreneur of the Year award presented by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and in 2006 the IRRA (Independent Running Retailers of America)’s award for Best Running Store in the the US.

“We have great respect for the history and heritage of Boulder Running Company because we understand the heart, the energy, the risk, and the commitment it takes to build and maintain running stores of this caliber,” Ken Gart, partner of Gart Capital Partners, said in a statement. “We have admired these stores and Halberstadt and Plaatjes’ philosophy for so many years that we are really honored to have it as part of the RSG group.

In addition to maintaining the Boulder Running Company name, little change should come to the service model and the retailer’s commitment to community events, said Chris Brown, principal of Gart Companies.

“Hopefully the in-store experience continues to get better and better as we leverage the systems, resources and talent we have in place as a larger organization,” Brown said

“As new owners, we’d love to keep that connection to the local market,” says Tom Gart. “And for the owners, our pitch is that they can get rid of headaches like IT and bookkeeping and keep doing the things they like that add value to the business.” – from the GartCompanies website.

Running Specialty Group plans to open more Boulder Running Co. stores in the greater Denver metro area, Brown said. Additional Boulder Running Co. stores may be opened in other markets based on the broad appeal of the name. Running Specialty Group also bought the store’s website: boulderrunningcompany.com.

The presence of Plaatjes and Boulder Running Co.’s 60 employees — some of whom have been there since the beginning — will allow for the culture to continue to thrive, Halberstadt said.

“You’ve got to have the vibe. You’ve got to have the soul,” he said.

Read more details at the Daily Camera.com