All signage has been removed from the Running Room’s former Port Credit location. “You’ve got to be pragmatic in your selection of stores and make sure that they’re viable,” said founder John Stanton. (Photo: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post)
The Running Room’s 2530 Winston Park Dr. location near the Oakville-Mississauga border remains open. (Photo: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post)
The Running Room’s Port Credit location has closed. “The consumers just didn’t continue to support us in the same way that they initially had, so it was time to relocate,” said founder John Stanton. (Photo: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post)
Port Credit Harbour Marina is a popular route for runners. (Photo: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post/file)
104 Lakeshore Rd. W. is empty after the Running Room closed in Port Credit. (Photo: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post)
BY KELLY ROCHE
The founder of the Running Room is lambasting the cost of rent in Port Credit a day after its south Mississauga store closed.
“I think the landlords along the Lakeshore are still living in a dream world,” said John Stanton.
The 104 Lakeshore Rd. W. store, near the lighthouse, shut down Thursday.
All signage was removed by Friday evening.
“We’ve been there well over 10 years and — actually, 15 years, and what we found happening is that every year, the landlord would increase the rent, and sales weren’t increasing,” said Stanton.
With five-year terms, the Port Credit store has been losing money over the last seven years, said Stanton, and “you’re paying the same kind of rates there that you would pay at Square One or Dundas, where there’s a lot more retail.”
“You can’t lose money and stay in business when you’re competing against, you know, people like Sport Chek, that’s owned by Canadian Tire.”
Roughly eight employees are being transferred to new or existing stores.
“He’s an elite runner but he relates to the back of the pack runner,” said Stanton, adding McAneney “created a real sense of community out there and it’s one of the reasons, you know, we want to move him to another store.”
WE ARE FAMILY
The store offers ‘learn to run’ clinics and a run club, which met on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning.
Local runners expressed dismay on social media.
“We all adore each other there, we urge each other on. We are a TEAM, we are a UNIT and we are a FAMILY!!! What a beautiful location that you have chosen to close!!!,” wrote Facebook user Kathy Washington.
“I’ll be sorry to see it close,” wrote Shahnaaz Khamis.
Stanton is encouraging them to visit another location.
“You’ll meet some new people and get some new trails under your belt,” he said.
And while one store closes, two Running Room locations are opening in Newmarket and Toronto’s Canary District.
“Good companies like us just have to finally say, ‘well, we’re not going to subsidize this any longer.’ We’ll move somewhere else, where we’re welcome,” said Stanton.
Ward 1 Coun. Jim Tovey was surprised to hear of the closure Friday.
“Unfortunately, the city has no control over market value of anything, so the market is always going to dictate what rents are,” said Tovey.
An online search shows a commercial lease listed at 104 Lakeshore for $45 per square foot, with a total area of 1605 square-feet.
“It would be great if we could cap rent but we can’t. We don’t have that ability, but the province does,” said Tovey.
Regardless, Stanton says Port Credit has “deteriorated over the years” and is “not as healthy as it once was.”
Tovey begs to differ.
A few weeks ago, driving through Oakville on a Sunday at 9:30 p.m., he says the only places open were a Pizza Pizza, Tim Hortons, and a variety store.
“And I pulled into Port Credit and the patios were pretty much full, and there was people all over the street. That’s the difference,” said Tovey.
The Running Room is an associate sponsor of the Mississauga Marathon.