Small Business Capitalizes on San Diegans Headed Outdoors

More people bought bikes and running shoes in 2020

NBC Universal, Inc.

The pandemic is bad. There’s no argument. However, you can find some positives if you look hard enough.

Many more people discovered the great outdoors in 2020 and will continue breathing the fresh air in 2021. Many of those people will do so while running.

“It’s a little frustrating,” said a smirking Greg Lemon. “Usually I’m running on the streets and it’s just me out there, and I have the whole sidewalk. Now, there’s like a million people. What can you do? ... I’m just kidding!”

Lemon is one of the three owners behind Milestone Running, a locally owned small business with locations in North Park and Pacific Beach. Lemon admits being concerned when California initially shut down in March.

“It was just so many things that are going through your head, and obviously you’re thinking the worst,” he admitted.

It didn’t slow Milestone, however.

“There was no panic," Lemon recalled. "It was almost like, ‘What do we have to do?’ "

The first thing the running store did was develop a website for online sales. Lemon said it was already in the works, but they never rolled it out.

“When this whole thing happened, it definitely accelerated it,” Lemon said. “So, we’re like, ‘Hey, send us an Instagram. Slide into our DMs. Leave us a voicemail!’ ”

The online presence, coupled with a surge in new runners throughout San Diego County, spurred new business that kept them alive.

“Literally, we’re driving around down like Uber Eats and dropping off shoes at people’s doors,” Lemon said, smiling.

Lemon said the growth allowed them to give much-needed hours to more employees. He added that Milestone Running is now capitalizing on New Year’s resolutions to get in shape. Lemon credited San Diegans for going out of their way to patronize small businesses in 2020, however.

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