For runners across Eastern Iowa, Running Wild provides far more than specialty running and walking products. It serves as a hub for the running community across the state. The husband and wife duo Joe and Jean Dwyer opened their first location in Coralville in 1999 and have since expanded across Eastern Iowa with locations in Cedar Rapids, West Burlington and Iowa City. In spring, 2014, a Running Wild store in Marion will open.
How did Running Wild get started?
Back in 1998 when my wife Jean and I started going on long distance runs we suffered a lot of injuries and eventually figured out that our shoes were contributing to the problem. We quickly realized that there weren’t any stores in the area that were catering to properly fitting runners, walkers and individuals who are on their feet a lot during the day. We decided to make the leap into small business ownership, and after lots of homework and some business classes we opened the Coralville store in August of 1999.
For those people who’ve never visited a Running Wild store how would you describe it?
We focus on evaluating our customer’s walking and running gait to find the shoes that best fit them. We do this by looking at their current running shoes, asking questions about foot health and training schedule and videotaping and analyzing their running mechanics frame by frame.
What has owning a business meant to you and your wife?
Opening our first store was a pretty scary process and sometimes my wife and I will look at each other and say “wow, who would have thought things would end up this way.” It’s been a very good experience for us and it’s truly a family business. Two of our three children are now directly involved in the business. Our oldest son, Jim, is the manager of the Cedar Rapids store, and our son John now serves as the manager of our inventory for all four stores. With everything that’s going on we still make time to run – it’s our passion.
What do you like about banking with MidWestOne?
We’ve been with MidWestOne Bank since 2000, back when they were still Iowa State Bank and Trust. We have a very collegial relationship with MidWestOne –especially the team we work with on a daily basis. We got to know the MidWestOne President and CEO, Charlie Funk, very well when he became a runner and that has been fun.