By: Karen Karnis
Shayne Hoehn started skiing when he was just six years old. In 1986, he took up biathlon, and there’s been no going back – he was on the Canadian National Biathlon Team for nine years, representing the nation at the World Junior Biathlon Championships three years in a row. That’s how he met his wife, Tuppy, who spent 5 years on the team and represented Canada in the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
Naturally, running was part of the training for the national team, but for Hoehn, running started before that. His earliest memories of running, like for most of us, involve just ripping around the neighbourhood and playing tag. Then there was the infamous Canada Fitness Test – those of us who were in elementary school sometime between the late 1970s and 1990 will remember this. The Endurance Run component stood out for him, not as something he enjoyed, but definitely as a way to challenge himself.
Then he ran cross country in high school. “I wasn’t very good, but I liked it,” he laughs, adding, “It’s one of those things where I sort of became addicted without realizing it.”
Hoehn had talked about one day opening a running and cross country skiing specialty shop, and saw it as a dream for later in life. However, after the store that Hoehn had once worked in closed when the owners retired, the pair saw a need for it in their community and thought maybe they could make it work. So in 2003, the young couple opened Stride & Glide Sports (a member of the IRRC) in Prince George, BC.
When asked about the store’s greatest strength, Hoehn is quick to respond that it’s the staff that sets them apart. “They’re unbelievable,” he says. “They’re fantastic, they love what they’re doing, and people come back because they build a rapport with the people who’ve helped them.”
In terms of products, they are self-professed “gear snobs.” Hoehn says, “We only carry good quality products. We don’t want to sell anything we’re not happy with and wouldn’t use.”
Stride & Glide’s customers love Mizuno. “They love the way Mizuno shoes wrap the foot, and the most common comments we get from people when they try the shoes on is that they feel fast and light,” says Hoehn. That’s why Hoehn is running in the Mizuno Wave Ascend. As a trail-junkie, he reports that the traction of this trail shoe is fantastic.
While great staff and great products are essential to an outstanding store, Hoehn is being humble. When asked about the sorts of events the store gets involved with, he describes being heavily involved in a local race series, and how the store bought a timing system so they could provide that service.
“When we were athletes, we didn’t do it on our own,” he says. “Even simple things, like using the local shop as a meeting place, were so important to bringing the athletic community together. So now we like to support the people who support us. We don’t see ourselves as a store where people come and spend money and leave with product – we’re partners in what they’re doing.”
While life is busy for the pair, running their own business and raising their three children – ages 5, 3 and 1 – they wouldn’t have it any other way. “I don’t come to work, I come to play” says Hoehn. “The people I work with, the customers, helping people realize their dreams – it’s fantastic.”