Tag Archives: SQM Picks

The Running Room: A Company Running with Great Customer Service!

People Cheering for the Running Room at an event

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about some of the challenges facing the retail industry, and highlighted some retailers that are changing the way they do business. Recently, I’ve come across another company that really seems to capture the essence of customer service, as it clearly comes from the top down.

As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I really have a difficult time finding shoes that fit me. While I’ve frequently gone to The Running Room for my daughter’s shoes, I never seem to find anything that works for me, so an employee suggested I go online for a wider variety of their shoes. They told me that there are no shipping fees or returns fees involved.

I thought I’d take a shot at it and (of course) immediately ran into an obstacle when the one pair of shoes I really liked were not available in my size. They had every other size except mine! Throwing up my hands in frustration, I decided to put The Running Room to the test and I contacted their head office. Their head office phone number is answered by a recorded greeting of their founder, John Stanton, and includes an option of hitting a button to speak directly to John. I wasn’t expecting to speak to someone, but to my surprise, he immediately answered.

I had a lovely chat with John, told him my problem, and without hesitation he offered to find someone to help me and said I would get a call back in just a few minutes. Not fifteen minutes later, one of John’s colleagues called me up, asked me some questions about my needs, did some research, and found me some options for shoes that would work for me.

While I was given the option of picking the shoes up from the store, it was easier to have them delivered to my house and within a few days, I had a pair of shoes that fit and easily returned the others that I chose not to keep.

It’s rare to find a company that goes above and beyond to keep customers happy, and it’s even more rare to have a President who is as accessible as John is (answering his own phone). Clearly, The Running Room gets it. Thanks to John and his team, I now have a pair of running shoes that fit my needs….and my feet!

The Running Room


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Cool cocktails and Awesome Americanos

Voodoo Child a coffee and cocktail bar

Hello again! It’s Clare here and I’m taking over David Lipton’s blog to tell you about a restaurant worthy of a spot on SQM Picks. Last month, I had some work to do and in my classic disorganized style, I left it to the last minute. It was later in the evening than I had planned to get to work, so I had to find a place where I could type into the night.

I stumbled upon Voodoo Child, which is just as cool as it’s Hendrix-inspired name suggests. It is open late and has a very cool atmosphere. The café features dim lighting and low hanging lights, creating a unique feel. Instead of my usual coffee house cohorts, I was surrounded by young people with many different agendas. Nearby, there was a couple that appeared to be on their first date, some young professionals sipping Wu Tangs while typing away and a few folks hanging out and enjoying the live music, which happens every Tuesday night.

During the day, Voodoo Child utilizes a communal table that has a great view of the ever busy and trendy College Street West. On Tuesday evenings, the café moves the table aside, so live performers have a place to play their tunes. On this particular night, there was a trio playing folk tunes that made everyone including the friendly bartender/barista tap their feet.

I knew I’d be in for a long night so the first beverage I ordered was a black americano. The bartender-barista explained I had the choice between two different blends of espresso – this evening, the choice was between a juicy one, with tasting notes of cranberry and stone fruits, and one that was described as syrupy, nutty and chocolatey. I opted for the chocolatey one and was very pleased with my choice.

When it was time for my second drink, I ordered the Wu Tang bourbon cocktail, which is a bit stronger than my chocolate flavoured americano and it tasted delicious. The bartender described it as “not too sweet and pretty strong”. The menu includes everything from a classic Old Fashioned, to the Wu Tang and a drink called the Suffering Bastard.

This isn’t necessarily a place to take the kids, but if it’s early and you’re looking for a great latte (served in a skull glass), an americano, or even a drip coffee, Voodoo Child is the place for you. If you get there before noon, you can purchase an americano and a locally baked muffin for only $5.25. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, the shop offers wood fired bagels with a variety of toppings.

This is definitely a place where you can start your day with a yummy coffee and end it with a strong cocktail. You might even find yourself back there the next morning if you enjoyed one too many Suffering Bastards.

Voodoo Child Espresso and Cocktail Bar


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