Luke MacDonald was 16 years old when he ventured into Aerobics First to buy a pair of New Balance shoes he had spent all summer saving up for.
“I got treated like a king...and basically, from that point on it was my goal to buy into Aerobics First,” he said.
Now a partner at the store, MacDonald is this week’s midweek mugging recipient.
Aerobics First, located at 6166 Quinpool Rd., specializes in ski equipment and running gear for all ages and genders including shoes, socks, boots, skis, helmets and apparel.
“Right now our biggest mover is the alpine ski,” MacDonald said.
The store welcomes both novices and experts. MacDonald said it focuses on supplying high-quality brands such as Head, Volkl and Rossignol.
To help reduce the financial barrier for children to get into skiing, Aerobics First offers a junior ski exchange. The program is determined by ski size rather than age, starting from 90 centimetres and going up to around 160.
“You come in, you get fitted up with all new equipment, and then year after year you pay 75 dollars to upgrade all the equipment,” MacDonald said. “Once you're in the system...you can upgrade all the way through without trying to resell old stuff.”
The store also offers ski tune-ups.
Some of the most popular items at the store are Smartwool products, which can be used for multiple purposes.
“[It’s] great for running, great for walking, but also great base layer stuff for under your ski gear,” MacDonald said.
As part of its mission to encourage movement, the store is involved in numerous community initiatives such as Sparks Fly, which places stationary bikes in classroom settings.
“So if the little kid starts to get anxious or get fidgety, they can simply just get on the bike, spin it out and calm down,” MacDonald said. “And they become significantly more engaged in the teaching, as opposed to walking the halls to get a movement break.”
It also works with Fit-It-Forward to provide shoes to those in the Halifax area who are experiencing extreme poverty or trauma, such as a house fire.
After 12 years on the job, MacDonald said one of his favourite things about working at the store is getting to know the people who come in.
“The store is built out from a really great customer base,” he said. “We just have great, nice people coming in.”