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Posted on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Tortoise and Hare running shop moving to smaller storefront at Traver Village

By Janet Miller


Tortoise and Hare store manager Monica Joyce stands inside the current location next to Kroger in Traver Village Shopping Center. The store will be moving a few doors down into a smaller location.

Angela J. Cesere |

Tortoise and Hare, established in 1978 as one of the Midwest’s first specialty running shoe retailers, is making strides to keep pace with the changing times. The Traver Village store is downsizing, moving a few storefronts south, closer to the center of the northeastern Ann Arbor strip mall on Plymouth Road.


Tortoise and Hare will be moving to this smaller location in Traver Village Shopping Center.

Angela J. Cesere |

Tortoise and Hare will move into space that had been occupied by a wing of Crown House of Gifts. While Crown House remains in its location, it also is downsizing.

Tortoise and Hare will leave the 3,000-square-foot store adjacent to the anchor Kroger and move into the new 1,800-square-foot space by the end of this week, said Monica Joyce, store manager. The build-out, which includes a wall separating Crown House and Tortoise and Hair, an entry door, a bathroom and a changing room - is nearly finished.

While Tortoise and Hare is losing 1,200-square-feet of space, much of it is in storage space. The floor space will not be much smaller, Joyce said. “The new space is more in line with where we are at as a business now.”

Sales have fallen close to 40 percent since the economy took a hit in the fall 2008, Joyce said. Sales plummeted nearly overnight, she said.

“We were hit so fast, we didn’t have time to adjust. We had orders coming in.” Since, they’ve studied their business plan and made efficiencies to reduce costs, including fine-tuning inventory, which now requires less space.

The store has been cutting costs - from not replacing staff to recycling paper to write notes - to save money. Rightsizing is part of that continuing strategy, Joyce said. “You do what you can to survive. Over time, you get more efficient.”

Even though the lease for the storefront next to Kroger isn’t up until next year, landlord First Martin Corp. allowed the move, Joyce said.

Tortoise and Hare opened in downtown Ann Arbor in 1978 as the national running craze caught fire. They opened the Traver Village store 14 years ago, but closed the downtown store two years ago. They also have a small shop inside the Health and Fitness Center at Washtenaw Community College.



Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

They are struggling but Running Fit seems to be flourishing. Why the difference?

Oscar Lavista

Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

MRunner: excellent analysis of the proprietary businesses - thanks.


Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Running Fit has a larger management team. They have five stores, with 2 in Northville, 2 in A2 and one in Traverse City. They promote, sponsor and put on many local road races. They are better at their own self marketing. Running Fit business has grown tremendously over the last 10 years and withstood the recession as a result. Running Fit is also propietory business but they just have a lot more energy in their approach.


Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

Good luck to them. I hope they can stay afloat. These propietory businesses are very imprtant to our community. They have my support.


Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 11:16 a.m.

A little map would have been helpful for those of us not all that familiar with that area of town.

Judy Hart

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : noon

It is at the intersection of Nixon and Plymouth Rd. There is a McDonald's, Krogers, Expresso Royale, Jimmy Johns, etc. It is on the northwest corner of the intersection.


Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

It's in the plaza that houses Kroger. Across the street from the Pfizer campus, now U of M campus.