Northville's Kona Running Co. plans to expand in Canton

The Kona Running Co. is expanding across Wayne County over the next few years. The Northville-based racing company is in the process of opening a specialty running store in Canton. The opening date is set for this October.

"I have been thinking about this for two years," says Alan Whitehead, president & owner of Kona Running Co. "It's a natural step for us."

Whitehead opened the Kona Running Co. in 2004. Back then he was working as an executive director of sales for an automotive supplier while running remained one of his primary hobbies. He started the Solstice Run in Northville and used it as the springboard to launch Kona Running Co.

"I have always ran to stay in shape," Whitehead says. "I have run 22 marathons."

He retired from his automotive career three years ago and has since focused on growing Kona Running Co. It now organizes five races across Metro Detroit, including the Novi Half Marathon and Wicked Halloween Run in Plymouth. It has become his full-time job and he staffs up with 24 part-time employees during race days.

The Kona Running Co. signed a lease for a 2,900-square-foot location on Ford Road in Canton. It’s currently looking to hire two full-time people with specialty running store experience.

"We're looking at two or three other stores besides that one," Whitehead says. "We're looking at West Bloomfield and Troy. We want to open one per year."

Each store will employ 12-15 people. Whitehead expects Kona Running Co. to have a staff of 15 people by the time it opens its first store this fall. The firm is also looking to add two or three more races over the next year.

Source: Alan Whitehead, president & owner of Kona Running Co.
Writer: Jon Zemke

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