'It’s a community, not just a shoe store': TerraLoco celebrates 10 years of business in Rochester
Rochester's local shoe and athletic wear outlet TerraLoco celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. Owner Tiffany Piotrowicz, who has been part of the company since 2013, reflects on the change and community impact the store has had in 10 years.
ROCHESTER — Tiffany Piotrowicz never saw herself becoming a store owner in 2013 when she started working at TerraLoco, a local shoe and athletic outfitter. Two years later she ended up buying the store and has been operating it ever since.
“I've really kind of been here, basically, the whole time that the store has been open. First, as a manager, then I started doing the buying and social media,” Piotrowicz said.
The store originally opened in 2012 under the ownership of three John Marshall High School graduates: Brock Quimby, Jeremy Hensel, and Darrell Thompson. In August of 2015, all three owners decided to part ways from the store and passed on ownership over to Piotrowicz. Since that time Piotrowicz has learned much to become the business leader she is today.
“It was just totally out of the blue and not anything I was really expecting at the time. But it was too good an opportunity to pass up. And you learn that the things that you're passionate about or the reason that you got into the business in the first place. You don't always end up doing a lot of that when you're in the action as the owner,” Piotrowicz said.
When TerraLoco originally opened, there was always the goal from each ownership group to become heavily involved in the Rochester community.
TerraLoco is well known for its charitable 5K runs, which they currently host every Monday at 6 p.m., where participants buy-in for $5 and proceeds go to a local charity of TerraLoco’s choosing. The store is also a large sponsor of the annual Med City Marathon.
Piotrowicz spoke on how important community involvement is for herself and her employees to keep the store more than just a place to shop for athletic gear.
“I think what makes us special is that it's a community as opposed to just a shoe store. Without all those events that we used to do, pre-COVID, that feeling of community isn't quite as strong as it used to be. That's something I really want to make sure that we focus on in the years to come is regrowing that community involvement,” Piotrowicz said.
Piotrowicz has said that she hopes for TerraLoco’s community presence to match that of her friend Nadia Victoria’s family businesses; Victoria’s and Sorellina’s. The latter of which opened across 16th Street Southwest from TerraLoco two months ago.
With 10 years of celebration underway throughout the month of August for TerraLoco, community events are popping up all over Rochester for anyone to participate in. Some of these community events include an upcoming VIP weekend this Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, and Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, with store deals. There is also a monthlong cross country competition with a $250 donation reward to the team with the most runners involved.
One of the largest changes in the 10 years TerraLoco has been open is its change into a majority women-owned and women-operated business. Piotrowicz is the sole owner of TerraLoco but has all women managers, including her sister Mallory.
“It's something that I'm leaning into a little bit more lately because I think it's something that people do find to be important with wanting to support their local businesses," Piotrowicz said. "I don’t like to call myself a minority, because I'm a white lady, but I think more importantly, for our business specifically it’s at least 75% female, and my entire leadership team is female, as well.”
As TerraLoco prepares for the next decade of operating in Rochester, community involvement and a welcoming environment in the store are the most important goals for the store, Piotrowicz said. She has always seen her store as a place for people to be welcomed into running without the feeling of intimidation for those entering the running world for the first time.
“Going to a store that's for runners, first time shoppers are sometimes worried about regular runners that are going to judge them," Piotrowicz said. "I think that's for both men and women, but more so for women. So having people walk in the door and they see people that look like them, and you know, we're not all ultra marathon runners, I think it immediately puts people at ease.”