JackRabbit was founded in 2003 with a mission to educate people about running and triathlon and to make sure everyone makes the best choices in gear. Fulfilling that mission requires three ingredients: great service, great products, and great tools. In addition, we’ve made a substantial commitment to serve our local athletic community.
The first ingredient is great customer service, which means hiring friendly, outgoing people and training them to become expert advisors. All of our staff go through 8 hours of classroom and hands-on training before being allowed to assist people with running shoes, and all staff also complete a rigorous set of written training materials on all aspects of running, swimming, cycling, nutrition, training, and recovery. We also go to great lengths to ensure that everyone on our staff understands how to work with people of all athletic levels. When we advise a beginner on shoes and gear we’re using all that knowledge and expertise, but we’ve learned that we don’t need to show off by telling you everything we know. Instead, we ask a lot of questions and make sure we truly understand where you’re coming from so we can make the best suggestions. When we work with a more experienced athlete, we bring to bear dozens of combined years of experience with industry trends that come and go, plus exposure to the latest innovations from manufacturers, to help people cut through the hype and make more educated decisions.
The second ingredient is great products, and these days that requires a lot of integrity. Manufacturers have learned that the best way to sell a lot of product is to provide hidden incentives to retailers. JackRabbit does not participate in any of those programs.
- We do not allow our vendors to pay our staff to sell their products, as many other retailers do.
- We do not allow our vendors to pay for our advertisements, as many other retailers do.
- We do not even allow our vendors to put their marketing materials in our stores.
Instead, we have a staff of dedicated buyers who screen all of the products we bring into the store. Their combined eight years of buying experience helps weed through the hype so only the best products make it to our shelves. Our buyers are routinely briefed on new product developments directly by the product designers, often 18 months before a product is available for sale, and in many cases their feedback influences product design. The result is that we are very confident in everything we offer, but we’re also free to shift to new products and brands as the market evolves.
The third ingredient is great tools. JackRabbit pioneered using treadmills with digital, still-frame video to help us recommend the proper shoe. To this day, almost everyone who buys running shoes gets on the treadmill for an analysis, even if they’ve been running for years. Quite simply, there is no better way to compare how different shoes are performing for an individual runner than being able to show them back to back on the screen in slow motion. JackRabbit has also made significant investments in IT, so that we can ensure that we have the right merchandise in the stores and can help people find products that they like. We have real-time inventory information for all of our stores at our fingertips, so if we happen to be out of stock in one store, we can usually find something in another store. We also keep a history for each of our customers, so you don’t need to remember what model of shoe or sock or what flavor of gel you bought last time – we can always look it up for you.
Lastly, we have made a major commitment to Community involvement. We believe that JackRabbit exists as part of a larger running ecosystem that includes running clubs, charity teams, fitness facilities, race organizers, coaches, medical professionals, and even other retailers. We want to be a part of that ecosystem and help the entire community succeed. One reason we do not have a JackRabbit racing team is that we want the best athletes to join the local running clubs, because their presence helps those clubs attract additional members and helps keep them viable. Our training programs help bring new people into the sport, and encourage them to join a local club or race for a charity as they become more involved. We have worked with local community leaders to help find our voice in the political process that affects everyday living as active people in New York City. And we have made an effort to sponsor many of the small local races that make being active in NYC so interesting. In the future, we hope that this web site can become another resource for the running and triathlon communities, to help people make connections and continue to expand our community.