If you’ve popped into Rackets & Runners in the last 20 years, chances are you’ve been welcomed by Nadia’s bright smile and cheerful conversation.
One of the most often heard, and highly regarded compliments we receive at R&R is how amazing our staff is — and it’s the incredible people like Nadia who take our customers' experience to a whole other level.
Caring, compassionate, genuine and kind are just a few words often used to describe ‘Nad’ and that barely scratches the surface. Nadia ties the whole Rackets & Runners family together— younger sister to owner Vanda, wife to store manager Kevin and mother to her son Max. It’s no surprise she’s the most raved about in our customer reviews.
This Mother’s Day we wanted to shine a special spotlight on our store ‘mom’ Nadia.
How long have you been with the store?
You know, I was thinking about that the other day. I think it's been 20 plus years [but it feels like much longer]. Wow! Time flies when you’re having fun.
What was life like before R&R?
I worked in an office environment - 9-5. There wasn’t life before R&R— having my weekends off, not thinking about work when I get home from work. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
We’ve heard you volunteer teaching baseball on weekends, tell us a little bit about that? How’d you get into it and how long you’ve been doing it for?
I decided to start coaching baseball when my son was 6 years old. My desire to volunteer came from my parents who were always volunteering with my different activities. When Max got to the age where he didn't want his mom coaching him anymore, I moved on to the 4-and-5-year old kids and I've been doing that for the last 10 years. Every Saturday at Nanaimo Park, home of the Vancouver Baseball Association.
Having worked here for so long, what’s one thing you wish people knew about Rackets & Runners?
That we truly care about everyone that comes through the door. Each person is just as important as the last. We really are in the people business versus the shoe business. We just have one big Rackets & Runners family.
Speaking of which, not many individuals get to work with their sister (Vanda), son (Max) and husband (Kevin). Tell us what that’s like?
Although sometimes extremely challenging (!!), it is wonderful to be able to work together and know that we all have the same goal in the end, making sure our customers are happy with our service and product. With the pandemic, it has been beneficial for us all to be in the same bubble and being able to see my sister on a regular basis. Some might say, too much sometimes, ha, ha! Very, very grateful for that ability though.
Besides working with your family, what’s your favourite part about working at Rackets & Runners?
That's an easy answer! The relationships I have built with my customers. Many have become very good friends of mine and we may never have crossed paths if we hadn't met at the store.
Word on the street is that you’ve started playing pickleball? How’d that come about and how’re you liking it?
Having watched the sport grow ridiculously in the last 5 years, I knew that I had to give it a try and I absolutely love it! My coworker, and fellow pickleballer, Suzie and I meet a few of our customers before the store opens on Sundays and go for a hit. I highly recommend taking up pickleball to anyone looking for a pandemic friendly outdoor activity.
Lastly, having worked here for 20+ years, do you have a favourite shoe of all time? And what sort of shoes do you have in your current rotation?
My favourite is the very first pair of the Nike Pegasus that I bought here before the family purchased the business, circa 1988. I loved that shoe… I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THAT SHOE. Another one that comes to mind is the New Balance 801 trail shoe that I loved as well — it’s a toss up.
As for my current lineup of shoes, my favourites are the Hoka Rincons. But I also have on rotation the New Balance Mor and the Nike Infinity Run.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the R&R moms, aunties and mother-figures. It’s not too late to treat her (or yourself). We know for a fact, moms love R&R gift cards. Call the store and we will have one waiting at the front door for you to pick up.