ORLAND PARK, IL – A local business is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Orland Park this month by supporting and showcasing other small businesses.
The Human Race, a specialty shoe store for runners, opened at 15148 South La Grange Road in 2002 and is still in the family business. Although they’ve become well-known, the owners told Patch that they want to use their milestone anniversary to continue giving back to customers.
“My dad started this store because he felt our community was underserved when it came to helping people find the right athletic shoe for them,” said Amanda Butler, who described her work at The Human Race as “a bit of everything!”
The store offers a wide variety of running shoes, but prides itself on matching customers with the right shoe for their lifestyle. By analyzing posture, gait, foot shape and goals, Butler said the team chooses a pair of shoes that correct, heal or protect their clients’ feet.
“Of course, there are big box stores everywhere, but the problem is that no two shoes are the same and no two feet are the same,” she said. “No two people move the same.”
By 2002, the store was running on a conveyor belt and solely on the know-how of the Butler family. Over the years, the property has invested in technology to track clientele, which is normally referred to The Human Race by podiatrists and chiropractors.
A typical first visit to the store would include a thorough stride and gait analysis, Butler said. First, a specialist would examine a client’s posture and alignment in front of a mirror, carefully looking for any imbalances or sagging. Then they walked on a treadmill equipped with video to observe their movements and break them down with a specialist.
Then they would release the newest toy, Butler said, a 3D scanner to measure the size, shape and curve of the foot.
“We don’t sell shoes so much as we provide an educational service to our customers,” Butler said. “Nothing is more gratifying than seeing a customer come back for their next pair saying, ‘Oh, you saved my knees’ or ‘I didn’t know I could be this comfortable.'”
The company’s anniversary celebration is scheduled for February 10-13. Throughout the weekend, The Human Race hopes to offer free massages, chiropractic consultations and sales. Inside the store, Butler said the family will be raffling off prizes and partnering with another small business to host a happy hour and fundraiser.
Over the next 20 years, Butler said the store hopes to continue to cement its place within the southern suburban community.
“We’re definitely a destination place. We’re not in the mall or anything,” she said. “We want to get more involved and partner with the village. Maybe get into the farmer’s market and spread the word that we’re here to help people. We have so many residents who are injured and whatever we want to do, it’s preventing that through the shoes.”