Despite many businesses around the area being forced to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, come July, Darien will once again have a running store in town.

Ridgefield Running Company is opening a location in Darien, taking over the space formerly occupied by Kirby Girl on 14 Brook Street, which closed in February.

The new running store will be called Darien Running Company.

“We are bringing Ridgefield Running Company down to the coast,” said owner Megan Searfoss, a Ridgefield resident. “We serve a very large geographic location currently. This just helps make it convenient for everybody.”

The idea

Searfoss said she had plans to expand into Darien ever since she learned in January that Runner’s Roost would be closing.

Corbin District Project Developer David Genovese said he initially discussed with Searfoss the idea of opening the Darien branch in The Corbin District.

“However, when Kirby Girl decided to close, however, we focused upon that location, as Megan was interested in opening as soon as possible,” Genovese said. “Then, COVID-19 hit, and with it, the shelter-in-place orders, and so our conversations ground to a halt as we all focused upon our existing businesses and upon how we would get through the storm.”

“I was concerned about keeping my own store in business, let alone opening a new one,” Searfoss said.

Several weeks ago, Searfoss called Genovese and said that, “despite the negativity of the moment, she wanted to look through the fog of the coronavirus and proceed to open in Darien,” he said.

Searfoss said she really likes the Darien location — which is located inside a small, white brick building just off the Post Road, next to the Sugar Bowl Luncheonette, Uncle’s Deli, and near Espresso NEAT.

“I like being in a cute, funky older building,” she said.

The new 1,500-square-foot store is “pretty much a cookie cutter to RRC, said Searfoss, an Ironman triathlete, long distance runner and founder of the Run Like a Mother 5K race event series, a women's only 5K occurring every Mother's Day.

Pandemic precautions

Due to the pandemic, Searfoss has put several precautions in place.

Patrons are asked to make an appointment prior to coming into the store. If space is available, walk-ins are welcome.

Also, no more than three people are allowed in the store at any time.

Everyone who would like to try on shoes is required to purchase a pair of socks from the store, which are discounted 50 percent.

In addition, everyone who comes in has their temperature taken, be asked to use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask. If they don’t have one, the store provides one for them.

There is only one size of each item on display, and no fitting room. Returned items are sprayed with antibacterial spray and then quarantined for 48 hours.

All those precautions will also exist in the Darien location.

Additionally, the layout of the store is wide open.

“We want to keep people socially distanced,” said Searfoss, adding the store resembles the Apple technology stores.

Ridgefield Running Company

Searfoss first opened Ridgefield Running Company in 2014 on 88 Danbury Road. In 2019, she relocated to 423 Main Street, “which is a much more visible location,” she said.

“I really believe in Main Street retail,” she said. “I love being in the heart of a town. Now, everybody sees me as they walk or drive by.”

Prior to the pandemic, RRC held regular free group runs from the store, which were led by staff members and offered at a variety of running paces. There were also organized training programs and clinics.

Searfoss said as soon as it’s safe, she plans on continuing those services, and also holding them in Darien.

This is the third consecutive year RRC has been awarded Best Running Store in the U.S. by Running Insight Magazine.

Advanced technology available at RRC — which will also be available at the Darien location — is the Superfeet ME3D Fit Station.

“Superfeet has this fit station that has the ability to take a static and dynamic impression of your gate and lets our fitters select a shoe for you,” she said.

Local business

“Penny [Glassmeyer of PG Properties] and I are so delighted to be helping bring Megan and her team to Darien. We have been so impressed with the way in which she runs her business and the community events that she incorporates into it,” Genovese said. “Darien Running Company will be an awesome example of an experiential, service-oriented and service-obsessed local business.”

For more information on the Darien Running Company, visit darienrunning.com or call 203-438-7778.

sfox@darientimes.com