December 2017

Palmetto Running Company: A Passion for Serving

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: Hopkins Studio

Every successful business starts with an idea, and most often that idea is rooted in a need or demand. Sometimes it’s a personal need that drives an entrepreneur to see new possibilities and to make a difference—to an individual, a group or a community. Such was the case for Rob Fyfe who came to town with a passion for running and the business acumen to start his specialty retail company and running club, serving Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort and beyond.

Before opening the first Palmetto Running Company store in Bluffton eight years ago, Fyfe, a former New York City marketing and advertising executive and avid runner, noticed something missing in his new hometown. “I was kind of semi-retired at the time and looking for a running store,” he said. “I had always been a runner, always shopped at my local running store and was in the running club. When I moved here, there really wasn’t any. So, I decided to do this myself.”

He found a place in Bluffton for his first store, and it immediately took off. A year later, his son Christian (also a runner) moved down and joined him in the business. From there, PRC has grown and expanded to a second location at Shelter Cove Towne Centre on Hilton Head Island.

Personalizing your shopping experience
If there’s one thing this father and son team knows, it’s that personalized service and community involvement are the keys to their success. Unlike a big box store where you go over to the wall, pick a shoe and ask for your size, PRC is taking the extra step to make sure the shoe fits. And it’s not just a matter of guesswork. While the wear patterns on your existing shoes tell a story, PRC has a much more precise method of determining and explaining your footwear needs. Using a professional foot analysis machine, the experts at PRC can get a visual of your foot shape, arch, weight distribution, alignment and stride. From that information, they can point you to the shape, cushion and stability you need in a shoe and present the appropriate options. They can also custom mold a shoe insert right on the spot should it be deemed necessary because of an injury or special need.

“A lot of the customers who come in to our stores have been referred to us by a doctor,” said Christian, co-owner and manager of day-to-day operations. “We work very closely with local podiatrists and physical therapists, many of whom recommend people our way in order to get them in a more appropriate and comfortable shoe for their specific foot ailment. They may not be runners, or even able to walk without the use of a cane, but because of the time we put into fitting people for the right shoes and the specialty of the shoes that we carry, many of our customers are able to leave the store feeling much better than they did when they walked in.”

In addition to the top specialized shoe brands, customers appreciate PRC’s selection of high-end apparel, including tech shirts, gloves, hats, arm warmers, sunglasses, Garmin watches and wearables, and much more, along with PRC-branded T-shirts and accessories—perfect for casual wear or as souvenirs. And most of all, they love doing business where the heart of the matter is customer service and satisfaction.

For the Fyfes, it’s not just about selling specialty shoes and apparel. It’s about working together as a family, loving what they do, and serving the community. “It’s my son and I. We run together [in November, they ran in the New York City Marathon], and we have a good relationship, which enables us to build this brand,” Rob said.

It’s also about connection. Prior to opening the Bluffton store, Rob began connecting area runners and walkers by starting Palmetto Running Club. Now 150 members strong, he takes pride in the camaraderie and sense of community he has fostered.

Runners and walkers of all abilities are invited to participate in Saturday running events, which take place at different locations each week (see palmettorunningcompany.com for the schedule). Runs are open to anyone, free of charge, but there are many perks to club membership—motivational and social. “Participating in the club is not only the best way to meet other runners, but is one of the best ways to get ready for a race or to help you meet your training goals in a sociable fun and inclusive setting,” he said. “It’s for everybody. Check out the photo gallery on our website. You’ll see pictures of all kinds of people.”

PRC also serves the community by working with local charities organizing running events, instructional events, and races—everything from 5Ks to marathons—which raise money for area charities. Through sponsorships and entry fees, Rob estimates they’ve helped raise close to half million dollars to date.

Whether you are a runner, a walker or just need shoes and apparel for everyday living, get to know Palmetto Running Company. You’ll be supporting small business, enriching our local economy, and giving back to the community you love.

Palmetto Running Company has two locations for your convenience: 30 Plantation Park Drive in Bluffton, (843) 815-1718 and Shelter Cove Towne Centre, 28 Shelter Cove Lane on Hilton Head Island, (843) 341-2677. Store hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, please visit palmettorunningcompany.com.

Palmetto Bluff Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K
Now is the time to register and start training for the upcoming Palmetto Bluff Marathon (A Boston Marathon Qualifier), Half Marathon & 10 K, taking place Sunday, March 4, 2018, directed by Palmetto Running Company. Get details and sign up at www.palmettorunningcompany.com

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