Sunday, January 25, 2015

Our new home - 89 Gordon St.!

This post has been a long time coming. As of this past Tuesday, we officially opened the doors to our new home at 89 Gordon St. 

The process started for us way back in March. We had our challenges along the way, but things finally came together, and we packed up the old store on January 18th. A few hours moving stuff from one space to the other, and another day and a half unpacking and merchandising, and we opened the doors to our new home. 

Here are some pictures of the store along the way:

This picture was taken just after we signed the lease in August.
A shot inside the suite when we got the keys.
The first picture after construction had started. 
With the drywall installed.
Flooring a paint are in.
Finally, the store is finished!


 Yup, we had a treadmill on the sales floor.

Thanks to all our customers for your patience in waiting for this move. I hope you enjoy the new space. Thanks to my wife and daughter for their patience with me as this whole thing came together. Thanks to the store staff for being awesome people and stepping up while I was consumed with the move. Thanks to those who helped us along the way, especially Jess and Scott Poland, Curtis Donnahee, Reid Coolsaet, and all of those who helped us pick up and move. 

Watch for our official grand opening even coming up in a couple of months (we have a couple more things to finish before we do the big event). 

- Andrew

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Long time coming

It's been a long time since we announced in August that we'll be moving.
A very long time.

This process has been an enlightening experience for me. I've learned that things take a lot longer than you expect to get done. I've learned that when someone tells you it will be ready on Monday, you should expect Friday. I've learned that there's a lot of decisions that need to be made, things to line up, and schedules to follow.

The good thing is, we've started work in the new space, and will be opening in January.
Initially, we had planned on opening in December. That date became less and less likely as we moved into September. We were still finalizing our layout, which we needed to get our engineering drawings done, so we could submit for our permit. By the time all of that was finished, we were pushing into November, and the space wasn't getting done in a month.

The other thing that impacted our opening date is the city's construction on Wellington St. That is a 100 year type of construction project. They were replacing all of the sewers, burying power lines, telecommunication lines, ect. The project was delayed in starting this year because of the cold winter and spring, leaving the ground frozen longer than expected. They expected it to be done November 30th, but that's with everything going smoothly. Last week I heard a date of December 8th for the road to open again. I expect things to open up that week, so the plaza should be ready to go.

That being said, I don't want to shut down for a few days before Christmas to move. As much as I want to be in the new space, we had always planned on being December 1st, or after the holidays.

For now, we wait. Construction has started on the new space. They've got a lot of work done so far. Ideal scenario, the construction is done before Christmas, we get city inspectors to sign off on the space, and we can move in for the start of the new year. If not, we should be able to line things up and get moved in not long after that.

Either way, it's a relief to see progress in the new store, and to see the plaza almost done. I'll feel a lot better when we have the keys, and everything moved in!

Here's a picture of the construction on Saturday. The back room, change rooms, bathroom, and office are all framed out, duct work mostly run, and a fair amount of the electrical run. Still a lot of work to do, but it's exciting to see things getting done!

Here's the layout for the new store. To the left is Gordon St, and to the right is the parking lot. This will give you an idea of what the space will look like when we're all done!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Holding pattern

A few months ago we announced that we're going to be moving. There was a flurry of excitement as people want to see us in our new digs.
Things have been moving along from our perspective. We've finalized a layout and design features for the store, and are waiting on permits for construction.

We're still targeting December 2014 for opening, but the final date will be impacted by a few things. First off, our permits and construction. Second, the city's construction on Wellington St. at Gordon St.
Our construction is relatively straightforward, I believe. The city, not so much. They're working on a huge project, and they're targeting being done the project by November 30th, but still needing to do surface repairs into December. The main entrance into the plaza will be the light intersection of Dublin St. and Wellington St. If that light isn't active, the plaza won't be open.

So, right now, we're in a holding pattern. When things start up, they'll go fast. We'll be up and moving before you know it, and I'll do my best to post some pictures along the way. In the meantime, here are some pictures of the outside of the building, and of the inside.

Note the 25 foot tall ceilings! So bright!

We're 2 doors down from Starbucks!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

We're Moving!

This blog has been dormant for a while, but that's because we've had a lot of things going on.

Marathon training never really materialized for this fall. I'm still clinging to the hope that I can get enough training in to do the Road 2 Hope Marathon in Hamilton in November, but I certainly won't be in the same shape as I was last fall.

The store has been humming along. A cold winter and spring has lead to a beautiful running summer. We had a little turnover with our staff, and saw some fabulous clinics make it through their 12-week sessions to their graduation race. Our Dirty Shoe Sale finished last week, and we collected over 250 pairs of shoes for Chalmers Community Services Centre, Lakeside Hope House, and Wellington Dufferin Guelph in motion! These shoes will go to those in need within our community (BTW, we'll take shoes anytime throughout the year).

The biggest thing we've had going on is we've been looking for a new home for the store.
We love Quebec St. The store has been in the same location since it opened back in 2000. We've had a half dozen different neighbours, and seen the block change almost completely. Unfortunately, our space is small, and we've had our challenges here, so we've been keeping our eyes open for the right opportunity to come by.

But where to move? We love being central in the city. It's great to be downtown. Something bigger is a must. Better running right our our door would be perfect. Neighbours that compliment us well would be good. Plus customer parking would be great.

The search is now over. Introduce the 40 Wellington Urban Retail Development at the intersection of Wellington St. and Gordon St. This space is 1km from our current location, door to door. It's within the new Downtown Guelph boundaries (Downtown now cuts off at the river on Gordon St.). It's right next to Royal City Park, which is the cross roads of all the trails in town. The space should allow us to have a bigger sales floor, which means more room on clinic nights. We'll have some great neighbours in Goodness Me!, Earth to Table Bread Bar, Starbucks, and the LCBO. Plus, there is a huge parking lot on site for our customers!

We're sad to be leaving a great spot, but really excited to be moving into a new space with lots of potential and opportunity. I'll post updates of how the design and construction of the space is going before we open. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Winter hibernation . . .

This winter was a terrible one for southern Ontario. We had record cold temperatures, lots of snow, and very few thaws. Combine that with the last few gentle winters, and it was a recipe for disaster.

The worst part of the weather this year is that it has caused a lot of us to do drastic things this winter. A lot of folks have relegated themselves to the treadmill, indoor track, or *gasp*, even the couch!

Well, today marks the first day of spring, and the weather is improving, in spite of the snow still on the ground. Now is the time for you to start taking back your fitness, and get into a routine again so you're ready for when the nice weather hits!

Here are a few tips on how to get back outside, or just active again:

  • Pick and activity you like - if you don't like going to the gym, what's the point of getting a gym membership? Do something that you enjoy, whether it's running, boot camp, swimming, walking, or something else. You're more likely to stay active if you actually enjoy what you're doing.
  • Sign up for a class - having someone else plan your workout can make getting active much easier. You just need to show up, and do what you're told!
  • Do it in a group - you're more likely to stick with an activity if you're doing it with a group of other people. Knowing they're waiting to see you there can be the motivation some people need. Signing up for a gym class, a running clinic, or just connecting with an open run time can be the kick to get out the door we need (**store promotion: we have new clinics kicking off April 22nd at 6 pm. Find details at We also have open groups that go out Saturday morning at 8 am, and Tuesday/Thursday at 6 pm.)
  • Do it with a friend - a group of people you don't know not enough? Join a group with a friend! Someone who can give you a call when you're waffling on showing up, and help kick your butt out the door. If you join a class together, it's even that much more motivation!
  • Schedule your activity - life seems to be getting busier and busier for everyone. Adding your active time to your calendar is a good reminder to stay active, and ensure you get out the door. Signing up for a class is a great way to ensure you set that time aside.
  • Set an achievable goal - it's easy to set a goal. What can be hard is achieving that goal. If you've just started running, don't try to run a marathon this spring. Set out to do a 5km or 10km race. By setting achievable goals, you can keep your motivation by reaching them. 
  • Sign up for an event - the first two local races of the year are coming up fast! Sign up for the Marden Marathon 5k, 10k, or half marathon (April 12th), or the Billy Taylor 5km or 15km (April 27th), and get out the door!
  • Get some new gear - sometimes, all we need is a little retail therapy to help us get out the door. A new outfit or accessory can be just the trick to kick start the fitness routine. A new toy like a Garmin GPS or Polar Loop can give you a good excuse to get out the door, while a new spring outfit can always raise our spirits.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cold Weather Tips

Brrrrrr! It's cold out. Windchill into the minus 40s isn't exactly what I call a good time.

That being said, weather like this doesn't have to mean you're sentenced to a treadmill death, or to do endless laps around the 200m indoor track.

Here are some tips to keep you warm and safe even when the mercury goes off the scale!

  • Finish your run with the wind at your back: Wind in your face while finishing means that you'll be both colder and slower. Depending on how challenging the run is, it can mean a dangerous drop in your core temperature, or fatigue that can make finishing your run a challenge. Wind at your back to finish means you get a little boost to your speed, so you can get home that much quicker.
  • Protect your skin:  A little Bodyglide over exposed skin creates a barrier from the elements, meaning you'll lower your risk of frostbite. Also, touch exposed skin every couple of minutes to warm it up.
  • Wear layers that wick well: Keeping your skin dry is key to staying warm. Wear a good wicking base layer, mid layer, and a shell that will allow sweat to evaporate. You'll stay more comfortable longer.
  • Wear a good wind-proof layer or two: Most of us can deal with a raw cold. It stinks, but you warm up. The wind is what can cut through you, and give you a chill that is hard to shake. Wearing a good wind-proof shell will help make that wind bearable.
  • Gentlemen, two words; Wind Boxer: These are a pair of fleece lined underwear that have an extra wind proof layer in the front. When was the last time in the winter you thought, "I'm too warm" down there?
  • Ladies, two other words; Bun Toaster: Similar to the men's Wind Boxer, there fleece lined underwear just don't have the wind-proof panel. Great way to keep your bum warm.
  • Plan your route well: Set up your route so you can cut off and get home quickly if needed. Also, planning a route where you can stop in somewhere to warm up is a good idea.
  • Keep your nutrition warm: If heading out for a run where you need water or nutrition, remember to keep it warm. We have insulated bottles, or you can try wearing your belt under your coat. Keep your gels and chews closer to your body so you can consume them quickly.

If you do decided to stay indoors for your run, here are a few tips:
  • Adjust the incline: On a treadmill, change the incline through the run to reduce repetitive fatigue.
  • Don't worry about the pace: Treadmills calibration can be spotty. Don't worry about how fast or slow it says you're going, just run comfortably.
  • Turn around: If you're on an indoor track, change direction mid-run to reduce the stress from tight corners.
  • Take the longest route: Run on the outside lanes of the track. You'll run a bit farther, and reduce stress from the tight corners.
Keep running, but stay safe!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Better late than never

I've tried to sit down and write this blog a few times since the race ended, but it's all felt a bit silly.

Pre-race gear shot.
We took the Go into town, got my race kit, headed over to the hotel, and did general mundane things on Saturday. We had a lovely dinner with Robert and Tricia McRae, who we ran into in the hotel lobby (both had a great race in the 5km on Sunday). We went to bed a bit early, which was still a bit late for Emily, my 3 year old. Our sleep was pretty bad, as Emily woke up about 4 or 5 times, and I had trouble going back to sleep after a couple of those.
Breakfast at the hotel was good. We were back in the room around 7:30, and I nervously paced the room for the next 45 minutes. We headed downstairs about a half hour before gun time, and hung out in the lobby for the next 10-15 minutes. We made our was to the start line, and found my corral. I said goodbye to Emily and Shannon, and got into the corral.
Emily giving "Heidi's dad" a hug.

I thought about really pushing my way up to the front, but I didn't want to get too pushy, so I settled in and waited for the gun. The gun went and we were off. First observation from the race; the crowds were awesome. It was very hard to stay relaxed when you have hordes of people cheering. Tip for future races: if you want people to cheer your name, smile. I couldn't help but smile with the energy coming from the crowd. I was a bit quick over the first 8km, when I pulled over for a quick pit stop. I was back on goal pace when I got moving again, and settled into that right through half way.

Photo courtesy of Scott Cameron, around 13km. Running with fellow Guelphite Boguslaw Wojewodka.
I went through half in 1:22:31, which was exactly what I was shooting for. for those of you who haven't run STWM before, a couple of things happen around half way. First off, the half marathon runners turn off to their finish around 19.5km. Suddenly, the bodies around you are thinned out completely. Next, around 22km, the course hits a dead spot. The spectator numbers drop significantly, and it gets to be a little tougher. Still, I was running on pace and the legs felt alright. Around 23km, things started to get a little interesting.

First off, I have a confession. I use expired gels. I've done this for years. Gels have a "best before" date rather than an expiry date, and I've never had an issue with gels well past the BB date, nor have I spoken to anyone who had an issue. I figured it's better than throwing them away. So, at the 18.5km mark, I took a gel that really didn't taste right. I took some water, and tried to forget about it, but around 23km, my stomach started to feel off. I was expecting to see an aid station at 24.5km, but it wasn't there (it wasn't on the course map when I looked later, even though it was listed on the "aid station" page). I really wanted a bit of water there, hoping it would help my stomach feel better. By the time I got to 27km, I was stopping and dry heaving. At 31km, I finally was sick just off of the course. Fortunately, it was just the gel that came up, and not all my stomach contents. Just after this point, my legs started to cramp up. I went through the last 11km running about 500-800m, then having to stop and walk or stretch. I even had to stop about 300m out from the finish line, where you think you can gut it out to look good running through the line. I changed my GPS to just the watch, so I wouldn't worry about how fast I was moving. Around 36km, I was wondering if I should ask a spectator to text my wife to let her know that I was okay!

Overall, I'm disappointed with how the race played out, but I'm really happy I finished. 11km is a long way to go when you've realized how the rest of your race is going to play out. I contemplated dropping out, but  I knew Shannon and Emily would be at the finish waiting for me. We talked all weekend about Emily coming up to watch me run the race, and I wanted to make sure she was able to watch me cross the line. It was important to me for her to see me finish, and it's really what got me to stick it out through the finish.

Emily enjoying the medal on the ride home.
So, I finished the race in 3:09:38. A 1:22:31/1:47:07 race wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I stuck it out, and it is what it is. This was a good experience overall. Like I said earlier, the spectators were awesome. There was a lot of Guelph love on the course, and I saw a few people out there who I haven't seen in years, or just didn't expect to see. Thank you to everyone that cheered for me, and said hi out on the course.

The real goal with running this marathon was to get back into a running routine. I've been very inconsistent with my running over the last number of years. I know running makes me better overall. I'm happier, have more energy, eat better, and am more efficient at work and home. I needed to get back into running consistently, and this race gave me the accountability I needed.
Also, running a marathon was a new goal and challenge. I've struggled with motivation in my running. I know I'm never going to run another 5km PB. I'm not going to run another 10km PB. But the marathon is a clean slate. I can adjust my goals and expectations, and really test myself to see how I can do while balancing the rest of my life.

A big thank you goes out to my wife and daughter. They put up with all of the training mood swings, holiday's spent on a long run, self centred talk of my running, and were extremely supportive through all of it (it's amazing what my 3 year old knows about glycogen stores and electrolytes). Thanks, too, to my staff. They got to hear about the details of my training, and offered some great advice. And thanks to you for following the blog. It's been a rewarding experience, and I'm excited for the next challenge.

Cruel Go joke.
I'm keen to get back on the horse. I've already sketched out a couple of spring training plans, looking to run another marathon in the spring. I've got a loose schedule to take me through to January/February, and I'll start to look at ramping up the training. I'm excited to see what I can do for the marathon. With a solid year of training under my belt, I think I can set my sights a little higher. I've learned a few good things from this training block (no more back to back to back week with 35k+ long runs, or expired gels on race day). I've been reminded about how much I enjoy running, and am happy to be back into it. I will probably be back to STWM next year. It was a great event, and I really want to have the race I know I can.