SALT LAKE CITY — Winning awards are nice. But winning awards for trying to help other people achieve their goals is even better.

At least that's the way Salt Lake Running Company owner Guy Perry sees the recognition earned from Running Insight, a Formula 4 media publication. The Salt Lake Running Company was named one of the top 50 running stores in the country by the magazine.

"It means a lot to us," said Perry. "It means that we're giving customers the same high-level of service. It means that we're meeting our goals."

And their goals are simple. Don't just sell runners (and really athletes in general) a lot of gear. Instead, support what it is they're trying to accomplish.

"For us, it's the idea that we have a standard," he said. "And we can meet the standard on a consistent basis."

Retailers are scored on a scale of 1 to 100 and Salt Lake Running Company scores consistently around 86. Industry experts use secret shoppers to analyze the company's sales staff in dozens of categories.

"Running stores are so critical to the growth of the sport and the business and deserve to be recognized for all they do," said Doug Kaplan, senior vice president and publisher for the Competitor Group, in a press release announcing the award.

Perry is a runner, so he wants to make sure the store is doing more than just another retail outlet. From nutrition and running clinics to supporting the events that runners crave, Salt Lake Running said they make sure they're listening and participating.

"We do what our customers need us to do," he said. "If they're running races, then we're there."

Interestingly, Perry never set out to own his own running store.

"I couldn't get a job," he said with a grin. "I was interested in business and graduating from Weber State."

The former Weber High School track athlete and Weber State distance runner graduated with a double major in economics and psychology but couldn't find a career that suited him. So he and his wife, a nutritionist, decided to chase another dream — owning and operating their own running store.

That was 17 years ago, and Perry says their goals have always been the same.

"We hope everybody gets treated fairly," he said. "We hope everyone gets (served) at the same high consistent level."

He said the store is more than just a place to buy shoes. They make it a point to have the newest gadgets and technology for runners and cyclists.

"It's not a job," said Perry, a self-described shoe geek. "It's what we do. It's fun. … And we hope customers appreciate what they get at the end of the day."

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