Gart Cos. acquires Boulder Running Co.

BOULDER – Boulder Running Co. has been acquired by Running Specialty Group, a Denver-based division of Gart Cos., representatives from the two companies said Monday.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Running Specialty Group bought all three locations of Boulder Running Co., and all 60 or so employees are expected to remain working at the company’s three stores in Boulder, Littleton and Colorado Springs, said Chris Brown, a Gart spokesman.

“Our goal is to keep the history and heritage intact as much as possible,” Brown said. “It’s a local resource where people stop in to get advice … and selling the product is the end result of other things we do really well.”

Co-owner Johnny Halberstadt will remain as a consultant, Brown said.

Co-owner Mark Plaatjes will continue to be involved with store management as he operates his physical therapy clinic, In Motion Rehabilitation, at the stores in Boulder and Littleton, according to the press statement. While the physical therapy facilities are not part of the acquisition, they’ll continue to be closely associated with the stores, according to the statement.

“This is a great opportunity for me to continue working with our wonderful staff in the stores that I love,” Plaatjes said in the press statement.

Running Specialty Group plans to open more Boulder Running Co. stores in the greater Denver metro area, Brown said. Additional Boulder Running Co. stores may be opened in other markets based on the broad appeal of the name. Running Specialty Group also bought the store’s website:

The company consistently ranks among the top specialty retailers in the industry in terms of revenue, Brown said, declining to give specific figures.

“Johnny and Mark are world-class runners, and they’ve done a tremendous job with the business,” Brown said.

Halberstadt and Plaatjes – South African emigres – opened Boulder Running Co. in 1996. Weekly running and walking groups offered at all three locations will continue to operate, according to the press statement.

“We have admired these stores and Halberstadt’s and Plaatjes’ philosophy for so many years that we are really honored to have it as part of the RSG group,” Ken Gart, partner of Gart Capital Partners, said in the press statement. Gart Capital Partners is the investment arm of Gart Companies.

The Boulder Running Co.’s flagship store is at 2775 Pearl St. in Boulder. The other two stores are at 8116 W. Bowles Ave. in Littleton, and 3659 Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs. Halberstadt and Plattjes won the Esprit Entrepreneur of the Year award presented by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce in 2008.

With the purchase of the three new stores, Running Specialty Group now operates 38 running stores, Brown said, primarily in the northeastern United States, and in Virginia, Florida, Indianapolis, Kentucky, Texas and Colorado. The company also operates online at:

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