Teen Opens World’s First Pawn Shop for $15,000 Sneakers

Michael Gartland, New York Post, June 15, 2014


High-end kicks are becoming the currency of choice in New York, and one 16-year-old is taking advantage of the trend–using his own five-figure stock of 45 mint-condition basketball shoes to open the world’s first sneaker pawn shop.

“Young kids don’t have jewelry. They don’t have cars,” said Troy Reed, dad of young entrepreneur Chase “Sneakers” Reed. “But what they do have is the thousands of dollars worth of sneakers in their house.”

Chase, a 10th-grader at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, still marvels over pictures of the freshest sneaker designs online and waits in line for hours to add to his collection. Only now he and his father are also getting them from fellow “investors” who want quick cash.

They have all sorts of reasons for selling short. One pawned fancy footwear to pay for his brother’s funeral. Two teen girls liquidated their sneakers to pay for prom dresses. Another savvy ­investor flipped a pair of LeBron Crown Jewels and two pairs of Jordans and used the thousands in profit to pay for his move to The Bronx from Brooklyn.

The store’s priciest pawned pairs so far–those Crown Jewels–are commanding $1,400, more than five times the $270 sticker price.

“I don’t look at it like a business. It’s what I do. It’s what I breathe,” said Chase. “It’s an idea that’s right in front of your face. It’s just about bringing the idea to life.”

During school hours, his father and their sneaker-maven pal Rahsaan “Uncle Bless” Capers man the shop at Lenox Avenue and West 120th Street. They’re looking for “high-end sneakers or dead-stock sneakers”–pairs that are no longer being manufactured. If a prospective pawner’s kicks qualify, they give the shoes a whiff, check to see if they’re yellowing and examine the soles for excessive wear.

“After we evaluate it, we’ll give the kid, say, $100 for the sneakers. If he wants them back, he’ll pay the $100, plus $20 for storing the sneakers,” Troy said.

If someone makes an ­offer, the pawner is notified and has the right of first refusal, provided they can pony up the cash. If the sneakers sell for more, the pawner keeps 80 percent of the profit and the rest goes to the store.



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  • D.B. Cooper

    It only takes a few months for those glorious shoes to become…

    • APaige

      The store will be robbed and the owner shot before the shoes have an odor.

      • 1stworlder

        Beat me to it.

  • Oil Can Harry

    These are some of the “poor, oppressed” African-Americans you folks outside the US have heard about.

    $15,000 sneakers. Rolex watches. $2,000 bottles of perfume/cologne. Bling jewelry. Cristal champagne.

    And those are just the ones on welfare!

    • OhWow

      Don’t forget the $300 belts.

    • Berkeley Guy

      Whatever, you racist troll. Don’t be jealous of entrepreneurial spirit. You know as well as I that most blacks cannot afford the items you listed because people like you oppress them.

      • Thank’s for a laugh. By the way, you’re the troll here, not Harry.

        • Berkeley Guy

          I guess you think racist trolling is funny. I disagree. Ask the victims of knockout games if it’s funny. There was a young white male who knocked out an older black male, and now that racist is in jail.

          • Alexandra1973

            He did it to prove that if it were a white person doing it, it would make headlines. Not saying he was justified in doing that.

            Now how many other KO attacks were white-on-black?

            Try none.

          • ElComadreja

            He was being sarcastic.

          • You probably can’t.

            Resoled boots are the best sort. They’re completely broken-in, but have new soles! There’s a Korean guy at a strip mall near me who uses Vibrams and still does it for a reasonable price.

          • We’re here for President Oogabooga’s “honest discussion” on race.

    • Welfare plus the income supplements called “armed robbery” and “burglary” and “shoplifting.”

      • 1stworlder

        You forgot pimping

        • Ron Cheaters

          And drug/gun dealing.

      • Usually Much Calmer

        But wait, it gets worse, Big One.

        Sudhir Venkatesh’s ethnography of the Robert Taylor Homes revealed a reasonably complex economy involving the trade of perfectly licit goods and services. . . all of it underground.

        They earn money the old fashioned way too, by working for it, fixing cars, cutting hair, cooking meals for others, providing child care. Money changes hands, accounting books kept in many cases. But none of it is ever reported. So, while suckers like you and me are PAYING TAXES, because they do not participate in our society fully or in good faith, they keep all of what they make AND in neglecting to report that income, they are on paper eligible for welfare benefits to which they may not be in fact entitled under the guidelines.

        They also don’t pay regulatory fees, but I think of that as a wash because they seem to be able to do without regulation.

        (Think about that the next time a libertarian starts talking about legalizing and taxing cocaine, for example. Barbering is legal and regulated and there’s still a black market for it.)

        Venkatesh’s reaction to his discovery? To gush over their plucky ingenuity. A good move for him, too; he’s got tenure at Columbia now.

    • Bobbala

      You’ve been listening to that Clipper’s owner’s former ho.

  • Jesse James

    Wait till they get their reparations checks, we will see a shoe bubble like the world has never seen. It will make those tulip bulbs seem like a bargain investment. One day we will probably find out that it is the sports shoe industry that keeps the reparations talk alive.

  • There’s a part of me that admires his entrepreneurial spirit. But then I snap myself back into reality and realize that his entire business model depends on black people’s reverence toward bling and superficiality.

    It says in one spot above that one man used this business to pawn his kicks to pay for his brother’s funeral. Wouldn’t it be ironic if his brother was murdered because the robbers wanted his expensive cheap shoes? Or at the very least, some element of expensive cheap bling that he had.

    • dukem1

      It’s not irony…It’s race realism!

    • 1stworlder

      The only way to make money with his store is to take life insurance out on his employees, like some businesses do.

  • OhWow

    It will be robbed now that people know he has those high end shoes in there. Mark my words. Blacks have a very strange sneaker fetish. They kill each other over these.

  • Berkeley Guy

    There were times during high school that I fell prey to such frivolity and social fashion, and I write this as I blush. I once owned a pair of fashionable boots that cost $120.00 of my after school job wages when I was sixteen. I should have been raked over the coals for such silliness (anyone have a light?), but I had yet to wake up. I bet most of these shoes are made by economic slaves in the third world. When I was a teenager, I never stopped to think of the long-term consequences concerning outsourcing.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Were they good boots, though?
      I’ve spent that on sandals, but they are vibrams, 7 years old and good as new.
      Fairly priced quality goods are worth it.
      Don’t beat yourself up.

      • Berkeley Guy

        They were not worth the money. I wish to remind myself daily of the overt silliness and frivolity that I engaged in when I was younger so that I don’t succumb to other, more subtle versions today. The point of those Perry Ellis boots, unfortunately, was brand name and fashionable taste. I deserve every bit of physiological discomfort when I remember my actions.

        • Usually Much Calmer

          Oh, well then regret the boots and move on. You alone have not doomed us, friend!

        • The biggest single snag to shelling out lots of money for designer clothing is that fashions change. The bit with men’s neckties has had me peeved for over 20 years, so I adopted the simple expedient of buying only medium-width ties. I’m rarely in fashion, but never completely out of it, either.

          The best single way for a guy to save a fortune on clothes is to keep a constant waistline. I’ve had the same 32-inch waist since I was 17, or for 31 years. Some of my old friends have really put on the pounds since then, and it must really pain them to donate perfectly good suits to the Goodwill and then fork over for replacements.

          • r j p

            It killed me to get rid of my “fat clothes” after I lost weight.
            Money down the drain.

    • Here’s the difference.

      You realized what you did, regretted it, and grew up, and did not repeat the mistake.

      That rarely happens among the denizens of Bell Curve City.

      People make mistakes, because human. But not everyone seems to have the ability to learn from their mistakes and quit making them.

      • Berkeley Guy

        I try. I see what you are doing here though: this is meta-racism, that is you are subtly inserting Murray’s Bell Curve book. Can you please stop being a bigoted shill, sir¿

        • “Meta-racism”

          And I just thought I was being snarky.

          • Berkeley Guy

            No matter what you say, we have some abstract concept to attack you with.

        • “Can we please stop being bigoted shills?”


          Next question?

      • ElComadreja

        Yes. HUMANS have that ability. Homo erectus seems to lack it.

    • ElComadreja

      As I posted above they’re made for peanuts by Chinese slave labor and probably by children.

  • Here I am wearing a nine year-old pair of New Balance 747s. They were about $50 at Famous Footware. That works out to a running cost of about $5.50 a year, and they’re still good. I’ve got better things to spend money on. I guess that’s more “white privilege”; it’s terrible, isn’t it?

    • Berkeley Guy

      You did not try hard enough to warp your thinking. It’s your white privilege that so many non-whites work in factories to provide you and your family with footwear. See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

      • Interestingly, I have not had a full-time job in 8 years, and I haven’t worked in my field – chemical engineering – in 14 years.

        • Berkeley Guy

          Large, perhaps even massive, privilege in full display here for all to see. At least you provided quantitative data on how long you have rested on your laurels. There is still time enough to atone for your bigotry though. If your children are young enough, then you can send them to white privilege conferences to learn to parrot on the 13/16 European genetics that they inherited from their father. Then, perhaps, they will not grow up to be as racist as you.

          • Said by someone from Berkely. Cute.

          • Berkeley Guy

            Look, all you need are a simple pair of conditionals that chase each other in a circle, sort of like a snake eating its own tail.

            If you have white skin, then you are privileged. If you are privileged, then you have white skin.

            In logic, whenever the antecedent of a conditional is false, the conditional is true.

          • r j p

            You are a troll. Go home.

          • cherrie greenbaum123

            I am privileged because I have a functioning, rational brain. I am privileged because I have an even temperament and not prone to violence. I am privileged because the hair on my head is not the consistency of pubic hair.

          • Where the snake eating his own tail is concerned, you should be the last one to talk.

      • Alexandra1973

        Define “white privilege.” Difficulty: Refrain from using the word “racist” in any form.

        • Berkeley Guy

          I have tried to define white privilege, and have often ended up with irritated and swelled metacortex pushing on the insides of my cranium. It’s that difficult. Finally, I settled on it just being the case that whites are kind to each other.

        • r j p

          He can’t.

  • Negroes, Mexicans, and other browns love shiny, colorful stuff. Think about dubs, for example, and low riders. Their inferior brains drive them, like children, to worship material geegaws and doodads, while rejecting higher values such as honor, appreciation of beauty, spirituality, etc.

    I don’t want to be around any of them since their cheap, tawdry values are not my values. And I damn sure am not going to be forced to engage in the Negro worship exhibited by this article. Screw the reporter and screw the idiotic black “youf” and his shallowness.

    • 1stworlder

      Maybe we can get them to give up their votes for beads.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Typical black and brown shortsightedness. Instead of investing the money in trying to improve themselves, they would rather waste it on childish baubles in order to assert their dominance by advertising social status to other blacks and browns.

      Everything is just an exercise in machismo for these groups. For blacks and browns, it’s all about being able to attract rutting females through flashy displays of conspicuous consumption. They just want to impregnate as many women as possible and have the taxpayers support their bastard spawn.

      • Ron Cheaters

        Now they know there’s a market for them. They were killing for them beforehand. Lets bump that up a few notches.

  • dd121

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some enterprising young blacks just walk into the store, shoot the owner, and take whatever shoes they want.

    • I would be very suprised if that is not exactly what happens. I remember just a few months ago reading here about a black “yoof” who won a large settlement against the city of New York over alleged police misconduct. Once he was known to have plenty of money, some other black guy fatally blasted him and robbed him of the cash he was carrying.

      A smart fellow would have seen that coming a mile away.

  • Alexandra1973

    There are a few things I will not buy second hand–underwear and shoes are among them.

    I’m also the type that washes any clothes I buy–new or used–before wearing them.

    • cherrie greenbaum123

      You’re white and not the ilk they’re going after in this market.

      • Alexandra1973

        I’m privileged. LOL

    • Who Me?

      And swimwear too–never buy a swimsuit secondhand. I was taught to wash everything before wearing it, regardless of where I buy it. I’ve got a 27 year old sweater (Pullover, crew neck, chunky knit) I still wear a few times every fall, and a pair of boots I’ve had for 34 years that are in perfect shape and worn the few days we have snow, most years. (And yes, I am a woman!)

      • Alexandra1973

        I still have clothes I wore in high school. Sometimes I like to wear my senior sweatshirt.

        I graduated in 1991. 🙂

  • MekongDelta69

    Didn’t the Indians give up Manhattan for a pair of $26 ‘kicks’?!

  • Andy

    “Young kids don’t have jewelry. They don’t have cars,” said Troy Reed, dad of young entrepreneur Chase “Sneakers” Reed. “But what they do have is the thousands of dollars worth of sneakers in their house.”

    !!! This is *normal* in some areas?

    • I find blowing that kind of money on such a rapidly depreciating asset quite incomprehensible. I also remember that Imelda Marcos, widow of late Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos was internationally ridiculed for her obsession with shoes.

      I can almost understand the thing some women have with shoes, but not men, and never sneakers.

  • Magician

    Haha, a young black male starts his own used shoe sales business and the mainstream media is determined to talk about it and have an on-air interivew with him.

    “Two teen girls liquidated their sneakers to pay for prom dresses. Another savvy ­investor flipped a pair of LeBron Crown Jewels and two pairs of Jordans and used the thousands in profit to pay for his move to The Bronx from Brooklyn”

    And by the way, I am just wondering why the “two teen girls” and “the savvy investor” did not simply sell them on eBay? On eBay they can interact with the biggest market in the world.

    • In this case, the term “savvy investor” is semantically equal to Rachel Jeantel being a “sharp cookie”.

      An “investor” is someone who has diversified holdings in appreciating assets, and not a bling-obsessed shoe-fetishist. When it comes to something like athletic shoes, one change in fashion demand can mean your whole collection is just that: used sneakers.

  • Even comedian Bill Cosby once upbraided other blacks, saying that they will spend $200 on Air Jordan sneakers for their kids, but won’t spend $40 on “Hooked on Phonics”.

    Their priority is conspicuous consumption, so taxpayers must cover the basics for them. Free school breakfasts and lunches during summer vacation? You’ve got to be kidding me!

    • ElComadreja

      They’ll spend plenty on “Hooked on Heroin”.

  • Magician

    Even if you like a specific athlete or celebrity very badly, it is ridiculous and unreasonable to pay more than $10K for a used product that only happens to be named after the athlete or the celebrity, which was not even autographed or worn by the actual person.

  • Ograf

    And, of course, the shop meticulously records the amount of every transaction and pays all appropriate taxes the the city, state and Feds.

  • I’ve lived in Colorado almost my whole life, and people tend to spend a lot of time outdoors here: the ones who like it, anyway. It’s the least obese state in the nation. Hawaii might come close if it were not for the native Polynesians skewing the average there.

  • Magician

    They look ok I guess,


    but I won’t ever pay any more than 10$ for a Nike product in my life.

  • Those $250 “afawete” shoes are made in the same Chinese sweatshops that made my old $50 New Balance pair. One difference is that my purchase didn’t involve paying a 400% markup to subsidize a product endorsement contract for some subliterate “afawete”. Another difference is that judging from the amount of use I have gotten out of mine, the New Balance brand is probably better-made.

    The acme of advertising has been described as convincing otherwise intelligent people to purchase a bunch of garbage they don’t need. When it comes to convincing blacks to make absurd purchases, advertisers possess major advantages:

    1. Most blacks are not “otherwise intelligent”.
    2. Most blacks have non-existent impulse control.
    3. Most blacks possess no money-management skills (as witnessed by their contribution to the mortgage meltdown).
    4. The black middle class consists mainly of government civil service workers who were hired solely because they were black. This completely artificial middle class with their faux, make-work jobs did not have to work to get to where they are, and correspondingly do not place as high a value on the rewards. Given the opportunity, they will waste their money on trinkets since they are really spending money that white taxpayers had to work to earn, or which was borrowed from China.
    5. Entertainment that caters to blacks does half of the advertisers’ work for them, by promoting a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption.

    There are probably a few more of these that could be added to the list, but five is plenty.

  • ElComadreja

    Made for pennies by child labor in China. Blacks are the only people on earth stupid enough to buy these and even kill for them.

  • No snow in Florida, eh?

  • Pat Kittle

    It’s always been PC to disparage whites as mindless status seekers who, when economically successful, become trashy nouveau riche.

    Need I say more.

  • Jefferson

    99.99% of Black people under the age of 30 have a large collection of Air Jordan sneakers. Black yoofs are very monolithic.

  • Fantaman

    Who would buy used sneakers?