ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Whether it’s providing shoes, gear or helping folks train for marathons, Runner’s Image is pleased to take care of it all.

With downtown Rockford constantly changing, owner Stephen Jaycox says there aren’t many stores that have been around for 40-plus years, and that although their commitment to stay local has been challenging, they will continue to provide for runners and walkers alike.

Jaycox started working at Runner’s Image over 30 years ago as a part-time job. A few years later, Jaycox and his wife bought the shop.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for more than half my life,” remarked Jaycox. “When we went into it 25 years ago, actually buying the business, it was sort of a leap of faith.”

“COVID was very difficult for obviously a lot of people, businesses of all kinds. And it took a toll on folks that were down here pre-COVID,” said Jaycox. “Things have changed a lot. And I mean, most people would say yes for the better. There’s a lot more retail. There’s a lot more restaurants.”

Jaycox attributes the store’s success and longevity to passion for not only the customer, but the activity itself.

“We love walking, we love things that are outdoors. But our first passion is that person that walks in the door. And that I think has helped us really stay here,” he said. “We’re hoping to stay and, you know, just keep doing what we’re doing quietly.”