A NEWS-PRESS SERIES: SMALL BUSINESS SANTA BARBARA: A SPRING IN THEIR STEP
Santa Barbara Running has been helping people run since 2003 under the supervision of Joe and Monica DeVreese.
The shop opened in 2003 after Mrs. Devresse got a job in Santa Barbara. Both have been involved in running for a long time; before moving to Santa Barbara in 2003, the two worked with Adidas, the famous design company in Portland, Oregon.
The business started on Chapala Street before moving to the Funk Zone in 2004, and just completed a move to Montecito at 1046 Coast Village Road. Their lease in the Funk Zone ended and their landlord was going to double their rent, but gave them a six-month heads up. The DeVresses went hunting for a new place.
“I didn’t waste any time on finding a spot. When I saw this, I knew it’d be great,” Mr. DeVresse said.
“This parking lot is amazing, it’s always bustling, and with the Starbucks on the corner … LuluLemon moving in, it’s a great little strip here and so far it’s great,” he said.
Santa Barbara Running is the last dedicated running shop in Santa Barbara, said Mr. DeVreese.
The shop sells everything a runner might need. From running shoes to running apparel to nutrition, the business lives up to the name.
Pictures of different running events, such as the 10K Bolder Boulder Run, dot the store, hanging over the rows of items that prospective and current runners would need for such a trek. The store also features running apparel from Rabbit, a running apparel company based in Santa Barbara that was co-founded by Ms. DeVreese three years ago.
Prices range up to a $275 pair of Nike shoes, Mr. DeVreese said.
“Our footwear can range from $115 to $180. With the new Nike stuff, it can go up to $275 for a pair of shoes, it’s crazy. Our apparel, Rabbit, is $30 to $120, maybe. We carry all the accessory stuff. Food for the long trail runs, hydration bottles and packs, socks,” Mr. DeVreese said.
The shop is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The business also has seven staff members, including Mr. DeVreese, who are all trained runners and dedicated to their craft of helping people find the right running equipment.
Mr. DeVresse highlighted how the business interacts with the community and how that has “kept them going.”
“We have run groups, we support different running events. We service our customers and that’s kept us going,” Mr. DeVresse said.
For example, the business is part of Santa Barbara Running and Racing, a group of 100-150 runners that meets every Saturday and Tuesday, who train runners for certain events like half-marathons. The shop also helps 3- to 12-year-olds prepare to run a mile three times a year.
But the thing that has blown up for Santa Barbara Running is the “trail scene,” which means running the trails that dot the mountains overlooking Santa Barbara and Montecito.
“The trail scene has just blown up. We have a huge trail scene. We have great access here to all the trails above us. A lot of people are training for 50 miles, 50ks, 100-mile races,” Mr. DeVresse said, adding that he was training for a 100-mile run in Colorado.
The shop features a mural of the Nine Trails Run Ultra painted on the back wall and a map of the original run hanging near the cash register. The mural was painted by a local artist, Peter Horjus, who is a friend of the DeVreeses.
“I thought it would be a great way to interact with customers, show off some of our local runs and talk about the race itself. It’s all right here, up against Santa Barbara and Montecito trails,” Mr. DeVreese said.
The Nine Trails Run Ultra is a 35-mile-long beast of a run from Jesusita Trail to Romero Canyon Trail and back, featuring 11,000 feet of climbing. It’s a hidden treasure with Trail Runner Magazine labeling it “The Most Stacked Race You’ve Never Heard Of.”
Mr. DeVreese is heavily involved in the trail run. Santa Barbara Running helps sponsor the run and Mr. DeVresse himself participates. The last Nine Trails Run had 300 runners, the most ever.
Mr. DeVreese recounted how the shop was shut down in December 2017 after the Thomas Fire. After the debris flows the following month, Santa Barbara Running became a community hub of sorts for people who flocked to downtown Santa Barbara.
“We were a community. They would come in and we would talk. … It was wild, every day for two or three weeks or a month, it was people telling their stories,” Mr. DeVreese remembered.
But with the Nine Trail Run, it was a time of celebration instead of mourning.
“We kind of celebrated having our trails back after the fire and the flood and that brought out a lot of people for it,” Mr. DeVreese said.