For the running partners who can’t be together in the age of social distancing, Madison, WI-based Movin’ Shoes crafted a clever solution: the Buddy Box.
The $39.95 gift box, a price that includes shipping or delivery, includes goodr sunglasses, a pair of Balega Hidden Comfort socks, one 0.35-ounce Body Glide and three nutritional items, such as energy gels, sport beans or bars, that customers can share with the favorite runners in their lives.
Movin’ Shoes manager Thomas Breitbach says the Buddy Box – a name that pays homage to running partners everywhere as well as long-time employee Tim Gold, aka Buddy – is the result of some creative problem solving and an earnest desire to connect runners amid unprecedented times in American life.
“It’s been a challenge to be unable to run together like normal … [and] it just made sense to find a way that would allow folks to still connect and show their running partners they care and are thinking about them, even when they can’t share miles together,” Breitbach says.
To order a Buddy Box, customers contact the shop, where staff then help customers select the sunglasses and socks for their running pal before packing the items, penning a personal note and getting the Buddy Box out the door.
In its first week, Movin’ Shoes sold 20 Buddy Boxes, personally delivering boxes to local residents while also shipping the gift boxes to individuals in distant locales like New York and Colorado. The popularity of the offering even pushed Movin’ Shoes to re-order goodr sunglasses and Body Glide.
“It has been a nice little boost to our sales in these uncertain times, helps keep us on folks’ radar screens and allows us to move some inventory that might have otherwise sat until we can reopen the store to in-person shopping,” Breitbach says.
A replicable experience at other running shops across the U.S., Breitbach says the gift box items were carefully selected to accommodate the widest swath of runners.
“All the items require little to no sizing concerns and are some of the most broadly usable accessories we carry, so they are pretty easy gifts to give that runners and walkers of all stripes can use and appreciate,” Breitbach says, adding that recipients can think of their running buddy “every time they slip on those socks or pop on their new shades.”
For Breitbach and his colleagues on the Movin’ Shoes team, the success of the Buddy Box speaks to the power of sport to bring people together and create spirited connections. “It has been really special to see the gratitude folks have even in difficult times and the love that is there not just for our sport, but for the people we get to share it with,” Breitbach says.