ProBike + Run Becoming Popular Community Hub
May 31, 2019 12:25PM
● By Hilary Daninhirsch
Outdoor fitness enthusiasts, particularly runners and bikers, have been waiting patiently for the opening of ProBike + Run. Situated on Kummer Road at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive, the two-level, 12,000 sq. ft. shop opened just days before Christmas last year, filling a niche in the North Hills for a community hub with a focus on wellness.
Even though the store opened off-season, business took off like a marathon runner, and it has only increased as warmer weather set in.
“We’re about innovating and bringing people together in the community—we want to help create a great experience. Our goal is to get people healthy and fit,” said owner Craig Cozza, who also owns the other four ProBike + Run shops in Pittsburgh and surrounding suburbs. Cozza was also one of the original-founding members of Pittsburgh Bike Share.
As is obvious from the name, the retail store focuses on inventory for biking and running. ProBike + Run has 500 bikes in stock at its North Hills location at a wide variety of price points, along with everything from running shoes—for which they offer a free gait analysis/shoe fitting service—to other gear and accessories, to nutrition and much, much more. They also have a full-service mechanic shop for bicycle repairs.
On closer inspection, however, it’s apparent that the store’s focus is broader than running and biking. Cozza said that the majority of their customers are into fitness, whether that be biking, running, or something else.
“We’re into everything to do with wellness. It’s about mind, body and spirit, and anything that supports that,” he said.
Another important component of their business is the numerous clubs, training programs and teams that are affiliated with the shop. In fact, when they first opened, they hosted marathon-training sessions. “We do mountain bike training classes, and we’re starting to do more and more road rides. There are lots of clubs that ride out of there, and we want to be a community hub for everyone,” said Cozza.
To get their message of wellness across, they have regular speakers and seminars on a myriad of health-related topics. They also like to work with local students, and to that end, they have hosted high school field trips and have high school mountain bike race teams.
“We want kids to disconnect from their phones and connect with what is real,” said Cozza.
As part of their community outreach, Cozza said that, as a company, they participate in over 180 charity events annually, such as runs and rides for various beneficiaries, helping to raise millions each year. “Being out in the community is what we are all about, and we want to help others be a part of that: building community,” he said.
The next step is the construction of a coffee and juice bar that will serve smoothies and food. As part of their effort to support the farm-to-table movement, they will sell locally grown products in this new market café, slated to open this summer.
Plans also are underway to build out event space in and underneath the building. “We plan to have community nights and bring in bands. People can run, ride, eat, drink and listen to music,” said Cozza.
He added that what makes ProBike + Run stand out in part is the team of employees who love what they do. “Some are triathletes, some are trail runners, some wanted to lose weight, but all of our people are so real and passionate and believe in what they do,” he said. “They live it.”
Cozza joked that the store is part of the anti-Amazon movement. “This is not the Internet. The Internet cannot compete with what we are doing. We’re supporting an old-fashioned notion. We support the community, and it becomes a community place.”