As Harrisonburg continues to receive accolades for the continued support and development of becoming a leading bike destination and Top Adventure Town by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, business owner Kyle Coleman has continued to find value in providing personalized service and customization for his clientele by expanding Bluestone Bike and Run to include a downtown location in Agora Downtown Market. Located at 165 S. Main Street next to Clementine, Ten Thousand Villages, and adjacent from the Massanutten Regional Library, Agora Downtown Market opened in June of 2017 featuring some of the most unique merchandise in the first collaborative retail space in Harrisonburg.
While Bluestone Bike and Run has been open since 2014, the new satellite location of Bluestone Running is a convenient extension of the running side of Coleman’s business, and is aimed at the growing niche of residents who enjoy living, shopping, dining, and running through Harrisonburg’s historic downtown streets. The store features a variety of professional-grade running shoes, accessories, and customized service geared at finding the right fit for patrons. As Coleman explains, “[E]ach person has a unique gait. We don’t sell our shoes based on a price point; we sell our shoes based on each person’s style of running and their shoe style need.”
Coleman’s main location on South Main Street features bicycles and more shoes and outdoor products. But this location isn’t as easy to access for those attending such events as VA Momentum’s annual Turkey Trot or Run, Sweat and Beers series hosted in partnership with Brothers Craft Brewing. This year’s Turkey Trot attracted a record 1500 plus attendees, all eager to lace up their shoes before untying their belt after a Thanksgiving feast.
“We want to better serve the vibrant, growing culture that Harrisonburg offers for those who live and love downtown,” Coleman says as he speaks with another business owner. As a husband and father of four children, his new location provides an opportunity for young professionals with families and heavily condensed schedules to be able to find the things they need while on their lunch break or after finishing their day’s work in downtown. With a coffee shop (Broad Porch Coffee Co.) on one side and a candy Store (Mandy’s Candy) on the other side of his shared retail space, there is plenty of energy to fuel the exercise-themed business that is continually growing and changing with trends.
Originally a loyal customer of Mark’s Bike Shop, Coleman was involved with discussions about taking over as the former bike shop owner sought to retire after four decades of keeping things rolling. After discussing the idea with his wife Melissa, Coleman, a JMU graduate and native of Richmond, VA decided to set foot into the opportunity with a focus on slow and steady pace.
“Brooks was the first contract we had shoe-wise, and we have added others but have taken our time with not adding too many brands,” Coleman explains. This allows for staff to better know the various product features and performance better, and not just offer shoes that hold visual appeal, but don’t offer performance that running enthusiasts need. “We can order different colors of some of our products, and do understand your budget might only be one hundred dollars not one hundred sixty,” says Coleman. “We want to find the shoe that is right for you, at the end of the day.” Coleman kept the well-known name of Mark’s Bike shop for a short period of time, before re-branding and making his business more unique to his own vision. The name Bluestone Bike and Run instantly connects with the bedrock that Harrisonburg was founded on.
For those wanting to get into running and biking, the enthusiastic staff at Bluestone Bike and Run and many of their friends can offer recommendations. From free running groups that do weekly planned runs together, to helping youth with building their own bikes, there are countless ways to get more involved with biking and running through Bluestone. Stop by and check out some of the events they offer while receiving down-to-earth answers. The staff members I met along with Kyle are very friendly and knowledgeable, having worked previously within the same store or in similar outdoor professions.
In addition, both locations are open until 7pm, so there’s no excuse that your computer kept you from running to the store. For more information about brands and products offered, visit Bluestone Bike and Run’s website as well as Agora Downtown Market for other unique shops you won’t find outside of Harrisonburg, VA.
Written by Derek Blyer. Derek is a Public Relations major and an active volunteer with HDR. In his spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, family and friends, writing, great food, and being able to help others.