For over 65 years, Runnings has proudly served customers with a wide selection of trusted brands, quality merchandise and hometown-friendly customer service.
Even though they started as an automotive supply store, their product selection has expanded and is now known as a home, farm, and outdoor store.
Runnings has grown tremendously over the years and now has 1,800 employees in 41 stores in 6 states, with their corporate office and flagship store in Marshall, MN. Wayne Mack has worked at Runnings for 19 years as the Store Operations Director, and has seen many positive changes and growth happen in the company over the years, including opening new stores, expanding their product offerings, and building upgrades such as retrofitting stores with new LED lighting.
Average 1 Year Payback on LED Retrofit
- Reduced Electricity Costs by 35% in 10 month period with LED's
- De-Lamping and Replacing some with LED's Reduced one store's bill by 50%
- LED Retrofits in half of all 41 Runnings Stores & Corporate Office
- LED Conversion included Indoor Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Exterior LED's, LED Wall Packs
Challenge – Trusting the LED ROI
With the deep history of Runnings, many of their stores have been around for a long time and were equipped with inefficient, fluorescent lighting. Chad Carver, Owner of Ideal Energy, saw the opportunity that Runnings had to save money by updating lighting. Wayne Mack, Runnings’ Store Operations Director, remembers, “Chad contacted me and proposed retrofitting some of our stores with LED lamps. After finding out more about us and learning about our requirements as far as return on investment, he put together several options and proposals for five of our store locations.”
One challenge that Wayne had was accepting that the cost savings that Chad was proposing was possible. Wayne remembers, “Initially, it was difficult to believe the kind of payback that we were told was really achievable. But we understood that LED is a big improvement to fluorescent, so we knew we should at least start testing some retrofits.” Wayne moved forward with installing the LED lighting in three stores and found that it was indeed a worthwhile investment. Soon afterward, they also retrofitted the two other stores initially proposed.
Cost-Savings in Marshall & Companywide
So far, Ideal Energy has converted many Minnesota Runnings Stores including Marshall, Montevideo, Monticello, Red Wing, Austin, Litchfield, New Ulm, and Canby. Outside of Minnesota, more Runnings stores in South Dakota and the East Coast also have LED lighting retrofits. Each store that gets an LED lighting upgrade contributes to the corporate-wide savings to Runnings’ electricity costs.
One case in point is the Marshall Store, which is their flagship store and also the home to their corporate offices, who also converted to LED. The Marshall, Minnesota store has fully converted to LED lighting, including the retail store’s interior lighting, parking lot lighting, and wall packs. Part of the cost savings also came in de-lamping, the process of taking out old light fixtures, which reduces the wattage overall.
Since LED lighting distributes light better, the same level of brightness is achieved with less LED lighting fixtures. Wayne explained, “The Marshall Runnings Store is one of our biggest success stories! It was a full store conversion of both interior and exterior LED light conversions including parking lot lights. Over a 10 month period, we saved 35% in total electrical costs, keeping mind that the total cost includes our air conditioning system.”
Similar results have been realized in other stores. Chad pointed out that at a Runnings Store on the East Coast, they permanently removed 30% of their lights, and replaced the other 70% with LED lighting. The result was improved lighting levels and an electricity bill that is half of what it was prior to the LED retrofit.
LED Pays Back in a Year
Knowing that Runnings saves so much money on their electricity bill annually since doing the LED lighting retrofits, one would think that would be the main thing that stands out about Ideal Energy to Runnings. But it’s the personal and timely service that has made Ideal Energy a trusted partner to Wayne and Runnings.
Wayne points out, “The Ideal Energy team has been creative and resourceful in taking into consideration all the different types of lighting in our stores that needed to be converted. Often, we reviewed several lighting options prior to choosing the one that was right for us.” Ideal Energy knows that the best LED lighting solution is not one-size-fits-all. Every building and LED retrofit is different, and for the Runnings Stores, it isn’t long before the cost of an LED retrofit is in the black. Wayne declared, “For us, the average payback time after rebates on just our interior lighting projects has been slightly over 1 year.”
. . . The average payback time after rebates on just our interior lighting projects has been slightly over 1 year.
Working with Minnesota-based Ideal Energy
When it came to choosing a company to do the LED lighting retrofits for Runnings, it made a difference that Chad was local and had roots in the community. Wayne admitted, “We’ve been contacted by many different companies from out of state who would have loved to have blown in and done retrofits.
But having Chad as a local Minnesota contact who planned to be here was a big factor for me. Plus, Ideal Energy seemed to understand the real world business aspect of planning and committing to the these kinds of investments.” With Chad’s background in the mortgage and finance industry, he is able to identify not only the greatest areas of LED cost savings for his clients, but also provide information on rebates, tax incentives, and financing related LED lighting.
Advice on LED Retrofits
To date, Ideal Energy has completed interior LED Retrofits to over half of the Runnings stores, as well as outdoor LED conversions to three stores, with fantastic results. But they are not done yet. Currently, Ideal Energy is in the process of converting the exterior LED lighting at the Montevideo and Red Wing, Minnesota Runnings retail stores. Now that Runnings has retrofitted over twenty of their stores in four states with LED lighting, Wayne is both confident and excited about the process, “I celebrate my 20th year at Runnings in April of 2018. Honestly, these LED conversions have been one of the more exciting things I’ve gotten to work on. Rarely do we find things that we can invest in that that improves a location as much as they do with an average 1-year payback.”
Wayne’s recommendation for others in his situation is simple, “If you think your building is ready for a lighting upgrade, I would you encourage you to meet with Chad at Ideal Energy. Share your company strategy and needs and allow him to do what he does well, and that is provide LED lighting options based on your needs and payback expectations.”
- Initial Energy Assessment
- LED Lighting Material purchasing
- Manage Installation of LED Lighting over 20 Retail Stores
- Manage Installation of LED Lighting in Corporate Office
- Outdoor Parking Lot LED Light Conversion
- LED Wall Packs on Building Exterior Conversion
- Converting Exterior LED’s
- Recycling of Fluorescent Lamps
- Submitted Rebate and Incentives
For more information on Runnings, visit their website at www.runnings.com