Harlem Teen Launches Pawn Shop For High-End Sneakers

16-year-old entrepreneur creates a new market for $15,000 footwear.

Sneakers might seem like nothing more than casual footwear to some people, but for others they are collectors items that can be worth thousands of dollars. Well aware of this fact, one 16-year-old New Yorker, Chase “Sneakers” Reed, decided to set up a pawn shop exclusively for sneakers. Funded with his own collection of shoes worth a significant five-figure sum, the the idea has already caught on with other teens whose preferred investment vehicle is limited-edition footwear.

The shop deals almost exclusively in high-end sneakers, or those that are no longer being manufactured, also known as dead-stock. For shoes to be accepted, they have to pass a sniff-test, and can’t be too yellowed or show signs of excessive wear on the soles. “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 Reed, Chase Reed’s father, told the New York Post.

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Once in the hands of the pawn shop, they act as a broker for the person who wants to sell their sneakers. If someone makes an ­offer, the pawner is notified and has the right of first refusal, provided they still have the money to buy back the shoes. If the sneakers sell for more, the pawner keeps 80 percent of the profit and the rest goes to the store.

“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.” Before opening the pawn shop, Chase also stayed up late after doing his homework to custom-paint sneakers. For his services, the teen can earn anywhere between $150 and $250 for each custom paint job.

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The new venture should prove to be a lot more lucrative, especially as a pair of Nike Air Yeezys, Kanye West’s signature sneakers, are currently have an asking price between $1,700 and $15,000 on eBay. Anyone who was lucky enough to get their hands on a pair when they were released only had to part with $263. For anyone who wants to go and check out the store, you can find it at Lenox Avenue and West 120th Street.

[h/t] New York Post

Images by Angel Chevrestt, Sea Turtle, and Jason Llagan

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