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Potomac River Running Moving in Ballston

by Katie Pyzyk January 3, 2013 at 11:45 am 1,926 29 Comments

New Ballston location for Potomac River Running store(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The Potomac River Running store (PR) is leaving its Ballston location (3924 Wilson Blvd), but the store isn’t moving far. It’s heading to the other side of Ballston in the old Alliance Bank (4501 N. Fairfax Drive) space along Glebe Road.

Ray Pugsley and his wife Cathy own the family business along with Cathy’s sister, Margie Shapiro, and Margie’s husband, Brendan. Pugsley said a number of factors contributed to the couples’ decision to move.

First, PR currently rents from Freshbikes, and the lease is up at the end of January. Pugsley said because of the sublet situation, PR doesn’t have long term control over the space. The owners of PR had concerns about what ultimately would happen to the single-level building.

“All low buildings in Arlington become tall buildings, so there was uncertainty going forward what would happen to that spot,” said Pugsley. “There’s no plan, but given that other things were important to us, we figured we would not wait until the time when everyone had to get out because someone is building there.”

Pugsley said another factor that’s been nagging him for years is the inability for customers to see the store due to the county’s sign restrictions. The new location will allow for high visibility at the corner of N. Fairfax Drive and Glebe Road.

“We just had a lot of people who said, even years after we were open, ‘I didn’t even know you were there!'” said Pugsley. “The way sign laws are in Arlington, we didn’t have a sign that was visible from the road because of our location in the building. We were thinking where can we go for better visibility and this spot was open.”

The final element making the location ideal is its proximity to trails. PR offers various training programs and running groups which will benefit from being closer to trail entrances.

“We put a lot of emphasis on our training programs, especially for beginner to newer runners. Not having to run around city blocks is more attractive to someone who is just getting into running,” said Pugsley. “It’s got a lot of good options for folks who can’t run that far or haven’t built up their fitness yet. In the current location, by the time you get to a trail you have to turn around and come back.”

As far as parking concerns at the new, higher traffic location, the building offers parking in its underground garage. PR will validate on weekdays from 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. for half an hour, and for an hour after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends.

Although no definite moving date has been set yet, Potomac River Running will be in its new space by the end of January. There will be a grand re-opening at some point, but the owners haven’t decided if they would prefer to wait until the spring for better weather. The owners will send out a notice on social media before the current location closes, and they’ll try to do the entire move in one day.

“We’re excited about this location,” Pugsley said. “It’s a little bigger and we liked the idea of being closer to the trails. I really hope this conveys how much we’re looking forward to being in the new place.”

  • arachne

    This is fantastic news. PRR has incredible service and knowledge for the running and triathlon community (yes, the lycra crowd). I’m glad they’ll be more visible and stay in the Arlington community.

  • drax

    Didn’t know it was there.

    The County’s sign laws still suck.

  • Joe L

    Love PR, but what about parking, which is plentiful where they are now.

    • drax

      Parking? You run there. Duh.

  • Clarendon Skank

    Serbs in lycra…yum!

    • yummoski

      Желаете ли да направите горещ ликра любов с мен?

      • Linguini

        If you pay $10, sure.

  • TomTom

    Speaking of Ballston, any news on Chevy’s? They have been doing some work on the Wilson side recently including painting and a new awning.

    • Katie Pyzyk

      An announcement is expected next week.

      • dd

        Will this be yet again Chevy’s, or Something Different?

        • TomTom

          the awning is a plain black and they were painting other the bright Chevy’s colors, so I think something else … any guesses?

          • JamesE


          • Nomore Yogurtplaces

            Just what we need – another frozen yogurt place

  • dd

    Words of wisdom, pass these on to your grandkids:

    “All low buildings in Arlington become tall buildings”

    • Mary-Austin

      *All low buildings in Arlington become mid-rise beige or brick buildings.

  • JohnB2

    I had no idea they were there either and I’ve lived off of Fairfax for 8 years now. I’ll check out the new location.

  • Yummmmm

    I love going there…. The manager Matt is a total stud along with Rory.

    • WeiQiang

      does that help with the running part of the business?

  • HJ

    It’s a great store but this is mixed news at best. Closer to the trails is nice but lack of parking at the new location is likely to be no good. I’m a bit surprised the proximity to Gold’s didn’t make the current location more appealing for them.

    • drax

      Shouldn’t it be a little closer to, you know, the Potomac River?

  • Michael H.

    FYI – Conte’s Bicycle and Fitness changed their name to Freshbikes some time ago, maybe last year (?). They plan to expand into the space currently occupied by PRR.


    • Katie Pyzyk

      Thanks for the reminder about the name change. Article has been updated.

  • Ashton Heights

    Never been to PRR. How does it compare to Pacers?

    • CrystalMikey

      I like Pacers selection for one. They just seem to have more items in their store (speaking of the Clarendon location). Second they have great employees and also run some great local races under their brand.

  • Ziv

    PRR has great staff. My foot is a 12 1/2, which is a bear to fit, and the only shoes in my home that fit me are the New Balance I bought at PRR. They put me on a treadmill and identified exactly which shoes would work best for my running style.

    • SouthernPrincess

      12 1/2 is actually not that hard to find. Pacers has a good amount of that size in brands other than New Balance. You should try them out one time!

  • “It’s a little bigger and we liked the idea of being closer to the trails. I really hope this conveys how much we’re looking forward to being in the new place.” great!!

  • Roxanne Smith

    Interesting move. Pacers is still my store of choice even though I live in Ballston. It’s worth the walk (or run).

    • CrystalMikey

      I love me some Pacers as well.


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