The growth and longevity of MUIR will always rely on the community we surround ourselves in and numerous independent retailers that have helped spread the values and nutritional performance of MUIR across the country.
Born in the High Sierra out of necessity for something better, MUIR’s beginnings point back to the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market and a handful of independent retailers in San Diego that were willing to give us a try. And thanks to those small shops that saw something special in our real food nutrition, we have built a long lasting relationship with mutual support at its core.
Whether it’s a walk, bike, drive or even run to your favorite local shop, from the moment you push through the front door we all have come to understand it’s going to be a different and much better experience than any “one click purchase” online. You can’t walk into an online shop and expect to be greeted by a welcoming hello. Perhaps a little window will popup offering computer generated answers to your questions, but that human hello generally comes from a familiar face because like MUIR, the independent shops are built in and around the community. Your local shop should be like walking into your friend’s living room and instead of being met by a manager that may be there just because the calendar says so, oftentimes it is the owner, who may be your neighbor, waiting to give you the customer experience you deserve and one that keeps you coming back.
Most view a city block or two of retailers to be the center of their community, and no matter what issues there may be with parking or curbside appeal, it will always have a central role in providing its identity. And that community identity stems from the small independent retailers, who by their very nature create a different retail experience, that’s truly personable and provides balance to the cookie cutter shopping malls. And to keep that community aesthetic, it is ever so important to continue to support the little guys.
And while we all continue to push through these uncertain times, the relationships we (MUIR and all individuals) have with these independent retailers is incredibly important. Yes, we have had to adapt while our retailers across the country have had to close, transition to curbside pickup, and even with doors opening, learning how to operate with everyone’s safety, but findings ways to support these mom and pop shops, no matter how big or small, is what’s going to keep their doors open in the long run. And by no means are we shying away from our thankfulness to be in shops like REI, Amazon and a few other big chain sporting stores, but we certainly understand the difference and importance showing praise to the independent shops that continue to help educate new and old fans of MUIR.
Here in San Diego, walking into Milestone Running is always a delight. The shopping experience is personable and the staff is extremely knowledgeable to all the products within the shop and more often than not, the owners and staff are leading the way for the weekly group runs. And across the Mississippi River in Akron, Second Sole is stepping beyond their walls to sponsor the Canal Corrido100 with MUIR helping to fuel the way.
And when the brand/business is backed by the blood, sweat, and tears of the owner it speaks leaps and bounds to the relationships built in the community. Even MUIR’s CEO/Founder Ian Muir McNally saw “when friends and fellow athletes tasted my early concoctions, they said I was onto something and should bring my creation to market and as a vendor at our local farmers market, I sniggered: were these customers just being supportive, or did they really like my gels? It wasn’t until some local retailers asked me to onboard with them that I dared to consider: ‘maybe, just maybe, MUIR might go somewhere’.”
And while MUIR can now be found in over 200 retailers across the country, MUIR owes a huge debt of gratitude to San Diego’s Mesa Rim, Jimbo’s, Artisan’s Palate, OB People’s Market, and Milestone Running not only for believing in me and MUIR, but for tolerating our shockingly terrible packaging. But if you can’t join us in our home of San Diego, where we continue in-house work on production and packaging, we hope there is a shop nearby to help fuel your adventures.