— Popular running store finds traction with new location.

Walk into the new Two Rivers Treads (TRT) store in Ranson (WV), and you might get an immediate whiff of bacon. That’s because beyond the treadmills and walls of colorful shoes, you’ll occasionally find a plate piled high with crisp bacon, next to several carafes of local ale. While this combination might not be what you would expect to find in a running store, owner Mark Cucuzzella said a little indulgence won’t hurt you.

“It’s kind of fun—something people can come in and enjoy before going out for a run,” he said.

This is one of the reasons Cucuzzella felt the move from Shepherdstown to Ranson was necessary. “We now have four times the space, and limitless parking,” he pointed out. “The greater accessibility allows for more events, which in turn, allows people to come and learn and see the space.”

While the store, located strategically at 400 S. Mildred Street, Suite 6, in Ranson, fit well among Shepherdstown’s committed running community, Cucuzzella felt that TRT had the potential to expand. “We wanted to be able to grow in space and to reach new members of our community who did not frequent Shepherdstown.”

The move to Ranson was the perfect opportunity to do so. While Shepherdstown regulars have stayed faithful to the store, Cucuzzella indicated, “we have increased our business by allowing new customers to see who we are and what we do for running and the community.”

The relocation has also granted TRT a new partnership with Charles Town-based social fitness club Bros & Bras, tripling the amount of running meet-ups the store is able to host.

“This is a great partnership, as we have mutual goals of helping the community, getting new people into the sport, being outside, and running,” Cucuzzella explained, adding that people can “… come in and relax and have a cup of coffee or a local beer before a Friday night group run.”

These meet-ups combine community, running, and—most importantly—health. As frequent and new customers enjoy a snack, Cucuzzella talks casually with them about healthy running. And as the self-proclaimed “first minimalist running store,” educating customers is an important part of business.

“A healthy foot doesn’t need excessive support or fancy technology,” Cucuzzella said. “A healthy foot needs a shoe for protection and to deal with the environment in which you’re doing your athletic or daily activity.”

The store also attempts to “… identify and correct foot dysfunction and other movement weaknesses, and give people exercises that will lead them to healthier living and more enjoyable physical activity.”

This is why Cucuzzella believes that the relationship between a community and its small businesses is more symbiotic than one with larger corporations.

“When you shop at a big box store or online, none of those dollars stay local,” he said. “Local businesses exist to try to fill a need in the community. Two Rivers Treads will aim to do this regardless of location, by trying to improve overall health, and not just putting people in a pair of shoes.”

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