In anticipation of Small Business Saturday, we highlighted a different staff member leading up to the big day on social media. There’s so many great things about TerraLoco, but possibly the best is the community— and that starts with the people who work here. I was asked jokingly by a customer once: “Do you guys have a minimum number of miles per week you have to run in order to work here?”
And the answer is yes. Just kidding! That’s the great thing about TerraLoco. It brings together people of all walks of life, different skillsets, and yes, different mileages. Some people run 50 miles at once, while others might run or walk here and there. There’s no judgement. We all share a passion and commitment to promoting activity- whatever that looks like- and we love helping others get started or stay moving.
This is our way of putting all of our staff profiles together in the same place so you can learn more about the people that make up the TerraLoco Team. Whether you’re a regular or are thinking about stopping in or attending one of our events, rest assured that one of these smiling faces will be here waiting for you.
Tiffany Piotrowicz- Owner & CEO
If you were a shoe, what shoe would you be? I would be the Brooks Levitate - springs back, launches forward, and fashionable... with a little extra padding. :D
How long have you been at TerraLoco? Since January 2, 2013 (about 5 months after the initial store open in August of 2012). I took over as the owner in August of 2015. In addition to bringing ideas to the table, I do all of the footwear and apparel ordering, troubleshoot IT issues, design & update the website, and work on the sales floor -- I wear many hats here at TerraLoco!!
Do you have a favorite brand? My favorite brands for running right now are Topo and Altra - I like the zero drop and wide toe box that these brands offer. My favorite lifestyle or walking shoes are Saucony and Keen.
Do you run? I will have been running for 10 years next summer. I currently do trail and road running, and focus on distances of 10 miles or less.
What's the biggest thing you've learned since working at TerraLoco? I've learned how to deal with adversity, how to push forward despite set backs, and most importantly, I've learned the value of a supportive, understanding, and committed community
Kim Zabel - Store Manager
Describe your favorite running memory. My favorite running memory is from way back in high school when I used to get up early in the morning to run with my dad. Running was his way of getting a good start on his day and a time for personal strategizing. We'd be out the door at 5:00 am to start running together before work and school.
What's your favorite race and why? I love the Thanksgiving Day 5K. It's a great way to get a good run in before I chow down on all that pecan pie!
If you were a shoe, which one would you be based on your personality? I would be a Mizuno Wave Rider. I love the energy return in this shoe and how it gives me a lift with each step in my run. I'd like to think I do the same for others in that I strive to lift others up.
What's your favorite part about working at TerraLoco? My favorite part of working here at TerraLoco is the people. I've never worked with such a strong group of committed individuals. We are all truly a team here, sharing similar interests and values. TerraLoco has become my extended family.
Do you have a favorite brand? Why? Currently, I am a huge fan of Mizuno. They make me feel like I am flying when I run.
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? I've been running since I landed a spot on my 8th grade track team. Other activities have taken over running during different times of my life - gymnastics, ballet, Zumba, karate, and cycling, but I have always loved to run. Right now, I run shorter distances such as 5Ks, but I have my eyes set on finishing a half marathon in the next couple of years. Just like my dad, though, I like to run in the early mornings to settle my mind for the upcoming day.
What's the biggest thing you've learned from working at TerraLoco? Working at TerraLoco has taught me that it is okay to take risks, to take chances on things (and people) even if I don't have all the answers yet or the entire plan worked out. Life has a way or sorting itself out for the best.
Courtney Lawson- Community Outreach Coordinator
Describe your favorite running memory. During my first 50k in 2017, I took a wrong turn and tacked on some bonus miles. Before I realized I was off course (which was, admittedly, a bit soul-crushing), I entered a clearing in the woods. The sun was setting, peeking through the trees that encircled me and no one else was around. It filled my heart with such gratitude, joy and peace; it was such a gift to be out there, going after a dream that I thought was impossible 6 months prior. I remain thankful for my inability to discern the meaning of an arrow; I wouldn’t have seen that if I stayed on course.
What's your favorite race and why? Probably Run the Rock in Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. It was my first 50 miler and I finished second to last, which achieved my goal of finishing. It was the first year of the race, so there were only 40 runners. We were really spread out, and the sun set, every noise meant a bear, mountain lion or deranged human was lurking around the next bend. I freaked out a bit. But I’ve always been a strange fan of Sasquatch, so I imagined a Sasquatch standing watch, protecting me. It worked - feeling hard core for bombing through the Oregon wilderness in the dark replaced being scared. Even now, when my mind starts getting away from me on dark trails, I channel Sasquatch.
If you were a shoe, which one would you be based on your personality? We had this conversation at work! (Micah!) I’d be the Brooks Levitate, because I’m bouncy and energetic.
How long have been working at TerraLoco? What is your role? I’ve been working at TerraLoco since February. I have two roles: I work on the sales floor 3-4 days/week, helping people find the right shoes/apparel/gear. Recently, I’ve started doing Community Outreach and am taking over donation requests, the $5 5k program and launching some workplace wellness activities.
What is favorite part about TerraLoco? The people, hands down. Everyone I work with is awesome. But it doesn’t stop there. Our Ambassadors and customers/event attendees are a blast. The store is literally a hive of encouragement, interesting conversations and laughter. I’m still in shock that I get paid to talk to cool people in pursuit of their best selves. (About one of my favorite topics: running!)
Do you have a favorite brand? Why? Not really, but I do have favorite items. The New Balance heat grid hoodie makes wicking dreams come true. Injinji socks have changed my life; my toes realize their potential when they can each do their own thing, freed from the shackles of a traditional sock. Oiselle pocket jogger shorts/capris/tights have no competition in my mind.
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? I’ve been running for 5.5 years. Prior to that, I started and stopped twice, but it never stuck. In 2014, I was bitten by the bug HARD. I did my first marathon in 2015 and started trail running and ultras in 2017. I enjoy both road and trail running, but focus on ultras. I love the mental challenge of navigating the highs and lows, and the amazing people I’ve met on the trails. Next summer I’m tackling my first 100-miler.
What's the biggest thing you've learned from working at TerraLoco? To honor thy feet!!! So many people have tales of foot woe, much of it caused by improper footwear. It is hard to watch someone buy shoes that are too small or choose a less comfortable option based on color/look. Painful feet are a significant barrier to leading an active life. No shoe’s cuteness is worth discomfort. I respect my feet in a brand-new way.
Tricia Fishbune- Social Media and Events Coordinator
Describe your favorite running memory. I don’t think I have an absolute favorite running memory- running has gifted me with so many! I love the way it makes me feel, and along the way, I’ve been able to explore cities around the world on my own two feet. Up at the top of my list would be attending Camp Saucony this summer (!!), finishing my first marathon, running the streets of Rome while studying abroad and running around campus at UW-Madison.
What's your favorite race and why? This summer, I partook in the Half Marathon Training Group with our goal race being the Healthy Human Half. After having a nagging injury for 2.5 years, I sort of gave up running…until I signed up for that group. It was the first time I had a specific time goal in mind and was determined to meet it. Before this, I was a lone wolf when it came to running, because I loved getting my “me time” in, but this summer was the first time I experienced the power of a running tribe! Having my coaches, training group, pacers, friends and parents cheer me on along the way was just as special as crossing the finish line under my goal ;) Many happy tears were shed that day!
If you were a shoe, which one would you be based on your personality? I would say the Brooks Bedlam. Fun, light and energetic, but definitely need some Guide Rails to keep me in line! Oh, and also super cute, stylish and a top-of-the-line option ;) (I’m kidding, I’m kidding)
How long have you been working at TerraLoco? What is your role? I first started working at TerraLoco part-time doing their social media remotely. Then I hopped on board full-time almost a year ago as the Social Media and Events Coordinator.
What is your favorite part about TerraLoco? Hands down the community! I love being surrounded by inspiring, fun, and ambitious people- from my coworkers and ambassadors, to the customers and charities we partner with each week. I love Saucony’s quote: “a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run.” I feel like that sums up TerraLoco and the people pretty well, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? I’ve been playing soccer since age six, so running has always been second nature to me. However, my first “real” running experience was doing the Med City Marathon relay with a friend and her dad in fifth and sixth grade. Ten years later, that was my first marathon. From then, I gave up “seriously” running for a while. Now, I enjoy playing soccer, crushing an Orange Theory Class (this is seriously the BEST for speed training and strength!), and yes, lacing up my shoes for some longer runs. Being involved with TerraLoco has helped me rediscover my love for running!
Georgia Schulz- Office Manager
What's your favorite race and why? It would have to be the TC 10 miler, my first long run. Second place would be my first and only 1/2 marathon the Disney Princess.
How long have been working at TerraLoco? What is your role? I started when Tiffany purchased the store in 2015. I am the office manager, mom and "will you pick this up" person.
What's your favorite part of TerraLoco?
I'm just really proud of how Tiffany has grown the store. She's given back so much to the community.
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? I started running around 47. But I've had some injuries and stopped running a couple years ago. I hope to start up again soon.
What's the biggest thing you've learned from working at TerraLoco?
That sometimes I need to be a mom and other times an employee
Mallory Lentz- Sales Associate & Inventory Manager
What's your favorite race? My favorite race would be any of the RunDisney events. Running through the parks, stopping to get a picture with characters, on course entertainment, and the spectators/volunteers make it really magical. I’ve made a lot of new friends through RunDisney as well, making it even more special.
Do you have a favorite brand? That’s a tie between Brooks and New Balance!! For shoes and clothing these 2 brands work the best for me! How long have you been running? I’ve been running for 8 years. My first 1/2 was at Disney and after that weekend I kept signing up for races! I’ve done 37 1/2 marathons and 5 marathons. My preferred distance is a 1/2, but I’m a sucker for the Disney Full.
Joann Boutwell- Sales Associate
How long have been working at TerraLoco? I have been working at TerraLoco since September 2.
What is your favorite part about TerraLoco? My favorite part is being able to help people when they have had foot problems; getting them fitted for the right shoe and they feel instant relief! I also love how much TL supports the local community.
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? I have been running since 2012. I run everything between the distances of 5k to marathons, both road and trail running.
Malia Ray- Sales Associate
What is your best memory at TerraLoco or one of our events? I have participated in Ragnar Trail Wisconsin for the past three years, always on a team with ambassadors/regular customers and coworkers from TerraLoco. I have too many wonderful memories from these events to list them all! Running, nature, and camradery- what more could you ask for in an event!
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? I have been running for a little over 20 years. In the past year, I have transitioned from road running to more trail running. There are so many great places to trail run in and around Rochester. I love the scenery and how it changes daily depending on the weather, season, and time of day.
Based on your personality, which shoe would you be? The Mizuno Wave Rider. Sturdy on the outside, soft on the inside, been around long enough to have gone through several versions and up-dates.
Tammy Drees- Sales Associate
What's your favorite running memory? In 2018, I turned 50. A friend of mine who also turned 50 in 2018 asked if I wanted to do a 50K trail race in celebration of us turning 50…I said OF COURSE. We had a great time training; ran a lot of different state park trails, took lots of pics, and ultimately finished the Hixon 50K in October 2018. What's your favorite race and why? I love ALL the trail and OCR races I have completed. I love running in the woods; it’s the best, and the runners and volunteers at trail races are always so awesome! Spartan is my favorite OCR race; I feel like it challenges me physically and mentally! How long have been working at TerraLoco? I have been working at TerraLoco 3 years in customer service/sales and as an assistant coach for TNT running class. What's your favorite part about TerraLoco? I love our teamwork; “Teamwork makes the dream work.” It’s so fun talking to customers about their forward motion/fitness plans, races, goals and helping them find a great pair of shoes/apparel that will help them achieve their goals. I love how TL supports and gives back to the community! Do you have a favorite brand? Why? Altra – Zero drop – open toe box. I love the Altra trail running shoe and now they are my new favorite cross-trainer – whoop-whoop! How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? I have been running for probably 10ish years. I mainly run trails. Being out in the woods with great friends seeing all the nature is amazing!
Patty Ostroot- Sales Associate
What's your favorite race and why? My favorite race I run is Brains Together for a Cure. I have a good friend who has brain cancer and I have run this race for 4 years to support her and the others battling this awful disease, and I always come away from this race inspired. I leave with appreciation of life and try not to take each day for granted and be thankful I can still run.
What's your favorite part about TerraLoco? My favorite part of TL are the running groups they sponsor. I am part of both $5 5k’s and the Mid distance group. With the $5 5k’s, I love the welcoming community to those of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities, joining together for a great cause while encouraging each other. The Mid distance group has pushed me beyond my own expectations. I only had run 5k’s before joining, never thought I could do anything farther. With their encouragement I have done 10ks, a duathlon, half cracked nuthouse challenge, even a half marathon.
When did you start running and why? What actually got me to lace up my running shoes was my children. I enjoyed watching my children participate in track and cross-country, but found it hard to encourage them in their running without experiencing the challenges they were facing in their training and competition. I ran my first 5k in 2012 and was hooked. My running goals now are to stay healthy that I will be able to continue running for years to come.
Kari Justin- Sales Associate
What's your favorite road race?
Hands down, Big Sur International Marathon. The course follows the coast of the Pacific Ocean from Big Sur to Carmel. The scenery was unlike anything I've seen during a marathon.
What's your favorite trail race?
Run Rabbit Run 50 mile trail race in Steamboat Springs. I've been to Steamboat Springs a couple of times and thought it would be awesome to run there. They just happened to have an ultra-marathon. I love the mountains and the thought of running through them made it even better. I didn't get to experience the usual turnaround point as they had to reroute due to the forest fires. Guess I'll have to do it again :)
How long have I been working at Terra Loco?
In an unofficial capacity, 6ish years. I began coaching for the Thursday Night Training runs and loved it. The people who joined us, whether they were new to running or an experienced runner were great to work with. I loved encouraging and helping them to enjoy running. I started with TerraLoco as an official employee last September as a part-time sales associate. It was a learning curve for me and I continue to learn something new on every shift I work. Who knew there was so much to learn about shoes?! haha. The team at Terra Loco is amazing and Tiffany is a great and supportive boss.
Sarah Nguyen- Sales Associate
What's your favorite race and why? I love the Med City Marathon weekend. This was the first half marathon that I really trained for (1st was the Rochester Half, it was in August, I was 9 months post pregnancy and it was awful) and did well. I love the fact that there are so many people that you know or recognize on the route both as runners and spectators. I love that my kids and my husband are able to see we half way and at the finish. Also, when I first started running, we had all three boys run the Med City Kid's Marathon as well. Its was so exciting for them and amazing testament to the value our community places in fitness and health. Close 2nd is the Twin Cities Marathon....it's 2nd only because my kids and husband haven't been but this year was amazing.
If you were a shoe, which one would you be based on your personality?
I would be a running shoe. Any running shoe. I am a PE/Health teacher by trade and have loved working and am happiest when I can wear workout clothes and tennis shoes. I need a stability shoe when I run....which makes sense. I need structure and order in life in order to function. Chaos and I don't do well.
How long have been working at TerraLoco? What is your role?
I have worked at TL for about a month as a Shoe Specialist however I have been a TL Ambassador as well for about a year!!!
What's your favorite memory or part of TerraLoco? My relationship with TL (other than just a shoe store) began last July when I was invited to join the Middle Distance Training Group. I loved the workouts/run but it opened up another avenue of friendships. I knew a few people from other parts of life but now have great friendships and running buddies that I know when I call, they will do most things to get a run in.
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now?
I have been active all my life. I played Volleyball and Basketball as a kid. I majored in Exercise Science, Health Education and Physical Education with a minor in Coaching. I coached girls basketball and volleyball for about 10 years...middle school, high school and even at RCTC!! Not to mention that I taught group fitness classes for over 22 years. Running was training for a long time, it wasn't its own sport until about 15 years ago. When my oldest son was about 2, I realized that time was critical and getting a workout in at the RAC was almost impossible with a little one's schedule. Running was something I could do, at home, for 20-30 minutes quick while he napped and my husband was at home. Then I signed up for a 5K in Austin (the Hog Jog), just thought, "I'll pay my $25 for my workout and get a t-shirt". I won my age group without realizing it. From there the competitor in me was hooked. I loved competing with the clock, with my body. Running then grew into "my time", "my time in the sun" "my time outside". I love it. I trained and ran my first half marathon 9 months after having my 3rd son via C-Section. It was slow and brutal but it got done. I PRed every race after. Until I tore my ACL 4 years ago. I rehabbed myself back into shape but was told I would run anything other than a 10K. A year after injury I was back running smaller distances and then a 10 mile race. 2 years ago I trained for my first half post injury and it was great! 3 more in the books. I love the middle distance and wish I could find more time (and a healthy knee) to train for a full.
Marc Thomas- Sales Associate
Describe your favorite running memory: This is more of a triathlon memory, but I participated in the Steamboat triathlon in Cape Girardeau many years ago. It was a race that I spent the better part of a year training specifically for. I injured myself the day before the race by crashing my bike. Then proceeded to crash my bike again during the race, damaging the wheel enough that it was no longer true. Yet I still finished the race and beat my training partner who I had a wager against for a free burrito. I genuinely enjoyed that burrito.
What's your favorite race and why? City of Roses Half Marathon in Cape Girardeau, MO. It's a beautiful course. Lots of challenging hills, and its the centerpiece race for the local community. I was very active with the community when I lived down there. So it was awesome being at to train and race with so many familiar faces!
If you were a shoe, which one would you be based on your personality? Hmm, probably an Altra. A bit weird but very efficient.
Do you have a favorite brand? Why? Brooks, Altra, and Newton are what I tend to gravitate towards currently. But I don't have any explicit brand loyalties. I believe in utilizing the best tool with the best fit for the job.
How long have you been running? What types of running do you do now? About 9-10 years. Most recently I was doing half marathon training, but right now I am just casually running until it's time to start training again in the spring.
What's the biggest thing you've learned from working at TerraLoco? How great of a community we have here in Rochester! I love hanging out and working with our community!
Megan Pfrimmer- Sales Associate
What's your favorite race and why? My favorite race is the Twins Cities Marathon and this is where I ran my first 26.2. I love October in Minnesota and the TCM is a beautiful run between two cities. What I enjoy most about running a marathon is being in a training plan. I feel so accomplished checking off runs and speed work through out the 16 weeks. For my first TCM I had a great support team from my husband Dale to our good friend Jennifer Meyer and all the other runners on the Saturday morning RTC runs. Jennifer has ran many a marathon and is well versed in how best to prepare. She taught me so much like don't remove the callus from my feet, when to take my nutrition, dress for 20 degrees colder that it actually is, and how to politely let other runners know I'm moving over to get to the water stop. My goal was to finish, however, I really surprised myself by completing my first TCM with a respectful time.
Do you have a favorite brand? Why? I really love Saucony running gear because it just fits me well and the quality is really good. I have a Vitarun jacket that is 6 years old and still looks brand new. Their shirts are longer in length which I like as a middle aged runner. They also make the best winter running pants that are fleeced line with wind guard. Over the past year or so Saucony has downsized their clothing line, but what they are putting out there is awesome! We carry Saucony at Terraloco and I encourage you to check it out.
What's the biggest thing you've learned from working at TerraLoco? I have learned from working at TL is that great customer service is key to our success. It is important to make in-store shopping an experience that can't be matched by an online purchase. I love helping customers who are shopping for a gift. I try to learn about the person they are shopping for by asking questions and this helps me know their interests so that I can guide the customer in the right direction. Terraloco is a special business that I love being a part of and this is because of our commitment to the Rochester community. It always feels good to be a part of something that is bettering the greater good.
Jessie Barnett- TNT & Half Marathon Training Group Coach
What's your favorite race and why? My most recent race is probably my favorite (the 25k train run at Hixon) but there are others that have been my favorites at different times. Ironman races, the Twin Cities marathon, the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta...so many favorites for so many reasons.
If you were a shoe, which one would you be based on your personality? I would be a light-up shoe! I think they make people happy, they're different, and they would make for safe night time running. My dream is for running shoe companies to make a light-up version...especially New Balance. A New Balance Vongo with a light-up feather = me. Yes please.
What is your best memory at TerraLoco or one of our events? Or favorite part about TL?
One of my favorite things about Terraloco is bringing people together. Seeing people brand new to running explore it. Working with forward movers (people walking, run/walking, running, etc) toward a goal. Spending time together in ways that help us all embrace new challenges and celebrate milestones. I also appreciate the support and encouragement that people in Terraloco's programs provide for one another. It always surprises me, and I'm always surprised that it still surprises me.