<b>Owners: </b> The Farley Family: Chris Sr., Adrian, Brian, Chris, Denise, and John (Chris serves as the General Manager of the stores)
<b>Quick Facts: </b>
Pacers is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. We will be holding an anniversary party on Saturday, August 19 from 6p.m. to 9p.m. Pacers managed and sponsored the 2005 Gulf Coast Relief Run that raised over $124,000 for the American Red Cross; this race was also co-sponsored by Alexandria resident and Pacers customer James Carville.
The 2006 Gulf Coast Relief Run is scheduled for September 30 Pacers also manages the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler and 5K (now in its 23rd year). This year, the Parkway Classic raised $46,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Alexandria.
Pacers received a 2006 Good Neighbor Award from the Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross for our efforts in raising funds for Hurricane Katrina.
Pacers was recognized as a top business-philanthropist by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce this past June
Sponsor of numerous races, high school teams, and events in the area, including GW Parkway Classic, Gulf Coast Relief Run, Kelley Cares 5K, Run versus Row, and the Rock N Run 10K
<b>Short bio Chris Farley: </b>
After a high school career at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Chris went onto run on the varsity cross-country and track teams at the University of Virginia. Chris is a
local elite distance runner, with a personal record of 2:31 at the 2003 California International Marathon. Chris races for the Pacers/Brooks Racing Team and boasts several top finishes in large marathons, including a 6th place finish and 9th place finish at the 2002 Marine Corps Marathon and 2004 Marine Corps Marathon, respectively. Chris has worked at Pacers for
almost a decade and now serves as the general manager of Pacers.
<b>Why did you choose this particular line of business? </b>
I have been a runner all my life and enjoy helping others work towards their running and/or fitness goals. Working in a running specialty is a lot of fun and is also rewarding. Our customers depend on us for running gear, advice, and moral support. Also, the running community, albeit large in the DC area, is tight-knit and you often see your customers out on the trails, at races, or at other running functions. We really enjoy being a part of our customers lives and helping them reach whatever their goals are- whether it be finishing a marathon or just having the motivation to get up for a morning walk.
<b>Why did you choose to work for yourself rather than as an employee for someone else? </b>
I was lucky enough to work under the old owner [Steve Fryxell 1991-2003] and learned a lot from him. He was looking to retire from running specialty retail and -thanks to an incredibly supportive and motivated family- I purchased the store from him. I get my entrepreneurial spirit from my parents; my mom managed her own painting business when my siblings and I were in grade school. Being able to make decisions regarding the direction of your business is of utmost importance to me, which is why I was drawn to owning my own business. In addition, this was an opportunity for my family to work together. Not many people have the opportunity to work with their family like we do.
<b>What have you learned from being in business? </b>
I have learned that you have to take risks to be successful. My family opened up another Pacers store in Clarendon, 3100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, in December 2004 which has been hugely successful. We also started a road race management company Pacers Events in 2005 and now manage several large races in the area, i.e. National Marathon, GW Parkway Classic, Gulf Coast Relief Run. Owning a small business lets you be flexible to take risks and try new things.
<b>Share an anecdote of a challenging or humorous experience or biggest surprise learned from working in your business: </b>
Every day is a surprise and brings its own challenges. I think one of our most challenging and rewarding times was when we were pulling together a race to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims. With the help from James Carville, our sponsors, and the City of Alexandria, we were able to raise $124,000 just two short weeks after the Hurricane hit. Our ability to raise funds for other people and organizations through our store and events has been the most rewarding surprise of owning a for-profit venture.
<b>What have been the advantages and/or disadvantages of operating a business in Alexandria? </b>
The greatest advantage of operating a running specialty shop in Alexandria is the vast number of runners that reside here. Also, the city has been very supportive of the road races and events we host in the city and is wonderful to work with.
Brian hails from the Sunflower state where he graduated from the University of Kansas. Brian has run several marathons and is currently training for the 2006 Marine Corps Marathon. Brian also manages the free Tuesday and Thursday fun runs Pacers hosts and can be found mainly at the Alexandria store.
Store Manager/Miles Ahead Training Program Head Coach
Erik has worked in the running specialty industry for over eight years with three of these years at Pacers. A gifted runner, Erik was a top high school cross country runner in his home state of Wyoming and was captain of the Princeton University cross country team. Erik runs competitively as a post-collegiate, with a personal best record of 2:20:38 at the 2003 California International Marathon where he placed 3rd overall. Erik raced in the 2004 Marathon Olympic Trials and is currently training for the 2008 trials.
When not managing the Old Town store, Erik serves as the head coach of the Miles Ahead Training Program. Erik has coached numerous individuals to personal bests in all distances and individually and collectively coaches over 40 local runners. When not running, Erik enjoys reading and spending time with his family.
<b>Key Staff: </b>
Chris Sr. and Adrian Farley
Chris Sr. and Adrian were running before it became fashionable. Chris Sr. ran two JFK 50 Milers and several Marine Corps Marathons in the 1970s and 1980s. Adrian participated in several Bonnie Bell 10Ks in the 1980s, so it is no surprise that all four children--Brian, Chris, Denise, and John--grew up running. Chris Sr. recently retired from over 30 years of service to the Federal Government, and Adrian continues to work part-time at the Department of Energy on alternative fuel sources. Chris Sr. serves as the accountant and president of Pacers and customers can often find Adrian working at the stores and serving as goodwill ambassador to the business.
Brian was the first of the Farleys to run under Coach Stripe at Yorktown High School. Since graduating from Miami (Ohio) in 1996, Brian has completed 15 marathons, including a personal record of 2:46 at the 2003 California International Marathon in Sacramento. Once a consultant for Accenture, Brian returned home in 2004 after stints in New York and Chicago to help his family open and manage the Arlington store.
Also a runner, Denise ran at Denison for two years before transferring and continuing the Farley running legacy at the University of Virginia. Denise recently took up marathoning and posted a solid 3:36 at the 2005 Chicago Marathon. An avid traveler, Denise spent a year living in Spain before joining her brothers and parents in the family business. Denise splits her time between both locations, and coordinates several events and training programs from the stores.
Kathy has worked in the running specialty industry for nearly a decade and has been with Pacers since the summer of 2002. A California native, Kathy headed east to Michigan State University where she competed for the mighty Spartans for a year. After college, Kathy moved to Washington DC where she completed her Masters in Public Health at the George Washington University. Kathy is currently training for the Chicago Marathon.
Currently, Kathy manages Pacers Events , a road race management and timing company, and also is an apparel buyer for the stores. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys coaching for the Girls on the Run program.
John is currently in his 5th year at James Madison University majoring in Geography and minoring in Economics. Like his sister, John is a world traveler and recently spent a semester at sea circling the globe. John recognizes the importance of his role in the global community, and frequently embarks on trips to various third-world countries to participate in community improvement projects. When back in the states, John can be found studying at JMU or helping his family with the business. A recreational runner, John enjoys training for local events with friends.
Description of services and/or products:
Pacers is a running and walking specialty retail store carrying shoes, apparel, accessories, and other training tools. Pacers Events is an affiliate of Pacers Running Stores and manages several road races in the area, including the George Washington Parkway Classic and the Gulf Coast Relief Run. Pacers also offers several training opportunities, including free training runs from the stores, in-store education sessions, and the Miles Ahead Training Program, one of the premier training programs in the area.
<b>Professional Affiliations/associations: </b>
Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
Alexandria Chapter of the American Red Cross- Board Member (Chris Farley)