Keeping it local at TerraLoco
Just a few years ago, Tiffany Piotrowicz didn’t see herself becoming an entrepreneur, race director — or an avid runner.
Funny how things change.
Tiffany, now the owner of run specialty and active lifestyle shop TerraLoco, started her journey to the forefront of Rochester’s running community at the 2011 Med City Marathon — on the sidelines.
“I saw all these people running that looked like me,” she recalls, contrasting the real-life image with the “effortless” and “perfect” image most people have of marathon runners.
One thing led to another, and by 2012, she was working in the industry. By 2013, she was at TerraLoco. By 2015, she owned the store.
For Tiffany, the ethos of TerraLoco is all in the name. “Terra” — short for terrestrial. “Loco” — short for locomotion. In other words, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other and staying active.
“You have to run for the right reasons,” says Tiffany. “Goals are individual. You’re not competing against someone else, you’re competing against yourself.” The name signifies the mentality of the store: as long as there’s forward motion, things are moving in the right direction.
Besides the name, TerraLoco sets itself apart from the competition through their shopping process. They are the only store in Rochester to utilize video gait analysis to identify the footwear needs of anyone that comes in, and were one of the first stores in Minnesota to use the technology.
"It’s not about making a sale," she says. "It’s about finding a solution.”
The footsteps of TerraLoco reach far beyond their storefront on 16th Street SW. Every Monday evening, they host a race for charity — aptly titled the $5 5K. All of the proceeds to go a selected nonprofit that changes every week.
“This year, we’ve been averaging 60 people [in attendance at the 5K] every week, and we started at a dozen,” says Tiffany. This equates to hundreds of dollars raised per week for local charities, like recent recipients Bolder Options, NAMI of Southeast Minnesota and Family Promise Rochester.
These initiatives encourage consumers to keep their money in the community. Tiffany, like lots of Rochesterites, didn’t consider shopping local a top priority — until she took a job at Eagle Drug in 2011. Since then, she’s seen the difference shopping local can make for a community.
“You’re helping me achieve my goals and pay my employees, and also supporting causes that you and I care about as well,” she explains. “I’d rather my money stay in the community.”
Running TerraLoco is a lot like running a marathon. Everything must keep moving forward. Community is important. Support is crucial, and for Tiffany, it’s been easy to find in this active community.
“The people that come in keep me inspired and motivated to keep doing what I’m doing," says Tiffany, who also serves as the race director for the Stay Out of the Sun Run benefiting melanoma research. "The running community is very supportive ... and we have a lot of runners.”
Photography by William Forsman