Copper Country Running Company logo features a spin on the Portage Lake Liftbridge connecting Houghton and Hancock. Queen City Running Company Facebook page
WHAT’S HAPPENING: A new specialty store, Copper Country Running Company, is moving into downtown Houghton. The store provides a small-town approach to retail in one of the fastest growing region of the Upper Peninsula.
WHAT IT IS: Copper Country Running Company will provide shoes for multiple running activities in the area, ranging from the fun ru,n 5K runs, competitive marathons, and high school and collegiate track and field. According to Paige DuBois, the general manager of the sister store Queen City Running Company, in Marquette, the business should start in mid-September with a dedicated store manager and other part-time employees.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “We’re going to hit the ground running with shoe fittings and all the services we expect to provide,” DuBois said. “We’re working directly with podiatrists, so we can get those referrals in for those who need shoes from the medical side. There’s been no issue with getting our product.”
WHAT’S ON THE WAY: DuBois said that Copper Country Running Company will include new races and events to help grow and sustain the running community in the Copper Country. While local racers enjoy the competition, races can generate revenue each summer. Some are small 5Ks that are used as a local fundraiser. Others are considered destination races that bring in runners from across the world as a tourist attraction. Trail races also showcase the numerous trail networks in the area, helping local train networks qualify for additional grant funding.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Founders of Copper Country Running Company specifically targeted Houghton and the nearby city of Hancock as a potential franchising location, showcasing the growth of the Copper Country.
“In Fall of 2021, we were taking a serious look at where to put a new store and we decided on Houghton. It’s on its way to becoming something big,” DuBois said. “So many people take day trips to come down to [Queen City Running Company] that it will be exciting to serve that community who is needing something like this. It was actually one of our customers that gave us a call about the location and it worked out so we could go right downtown Houghton.”