ALEXANDRIA, VA – With a ribbon cutting and a gorgeous evening for a run along a vibrant King Street, Pacers Running officially welcomed participants and a gathered crowd last night to celebrate the much talked about mural recently produced by No Kings Collective at Pacers flagship store located at 1301 King Street.
Stephanie Landrum, President & CEO at the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, was one of the leading community members who joined the night’s festivities and was instrumental in bringing the idea of the mural to life. “Last spring when Covid-19 hit, we went to the city and proposed some ways we could support small businesses who were negatively impacted during the pandemic. We came up with this idea of a grant program and we offered businesses the opportunity to apply for funds and to use it in ways that would help people to increase revenue and help bring people safely to their spaces.”
With the trend and need to entice clients and shoppers to the outdoors, Pacers applied for the development grant with mural on the side of their flagship store in mind. This was proposed as a place to start their weekly runs and safer outdoor sales. Known for his running town halls, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson was present at the ceremony. “We’re so thrilled to support Pacers because they support our community,” said Wilson. “There is a Pacers family here in Alexandria.”
Chris Farley, owner of Pacers Running, incorporated his family into his business venture from the beginning. “In 1999, I was walking in Old Town – didn’t even know the store existed – and I see this sign in the window that said help wanted.” Four years later, Chris convinced his parents to mortgage their home to make an offer on a not-even-for-sale Pacers Running, and as of 2021 the company has grown to six existing Pacers shops with plans for additional expansion. “At the time, I said to my parents, ‘I don’t know what this is going to cost, but I need to do this.’”
Shortly following Farley’s bold move, Chief Executive Officer, Kathy Dalby, quit her full-time day job and decided to become part of the emerging Pacers business. “I walked in here [Pacers] looking for a second job and nineteen years later, I’m now the CEO of the company. Dalby grew to become an integral part of what is a community involved and community supportive business. “The number of stories we hear – whether it’s weight loss or getting out of unhealthy relationships – it’s almost a therapeutic link with some of our people. They’ve shaped who we are.”
With that connection, the leadership of Pacers continues to be brave and bold in the steps they take by shaking off stereotypical expectations of brick-and-mortar stores. “People want to have connection and we’ve been built by community,” stated Farley with enthusiasm. “Alexandria is where we are rooted and will continue to be.”