HYDE PARK — A reseller of rare and collectible sneakers will open its second South Side location in Hyde Park this week.
Sneakerville 88 opens with a ribbon-cutting 11 a.m. Friday at the store, 5241 S. Harper Ave., after a “soft opening” earlier this month.
Customers can get $10 off their purchases Friday, while $10 from each purchase that day will go to the Hyde Park-Kenwood Legends youth baseball team.
The opening day festivities continue with a grand opening party with food and beverages from 5-8 p.m.
“I’m glad to be in Hyde Park,” owner James Denman Jr. said. “I’ve been looking to be here for a while, to serve the community and be an asset for the community.”
The “Lost and Found” Jordan 1s, which have been “out for a while but are still in popular demand,” are likely to be the most popular pair on opening day in Hyde Park, Denman said.
The red-, black- and weathered-white colorway is nearly identical to that of Michael Jordan’s original namesake shoe — if a pair was “found decades later in a dusty stock room,” according to Nike.
Aside from those, various colorways of Jordan 4s and 11s, Yeezys, Nikes and Adidas shoes will be the store’s staples, Denman said.
Most sneakers will be available up to a size 13, while the shop will stock “a couple [size] 14s and [size] 15s,” Denman said.
Larger sizes are “hard to come by,” as a teenager recently found out when he came into the shop’s original location in Bronzeville looking for size 18 shoes, he said.
“I don’t come across them often, but [I pick them up] when I do come across them,” Denman said of rare shoes in large sizes.
Though online resellers and platforms like StockX have had a major impact on the resale industry, Sneakerville 88 will offer an alternative for those who “still like to come in, touch and feel the sneakers,” he said.
“You’re going to always have those people who don’t want to order online and take the chance of shoes being lost in the mail or things of that nature,” Denman said. “You might also want a pair that day, and you don’t have to wait.”
Denman owns two Harold’s locations in Bronzeville and the South Loop, and opened the similarly named Sneaker Ville 88 at 122 E. 35th St. last year.
Each of Denman’s businesses includes the number 88 in its name as an homage to the year the Englewood native graduated from Curie High School.
The original Sneaker Ville 88 in Bronzeville opened as the restaurants were “suffering a little bit because of the pandemic,” Denman said.
It was a logical move, as he shares a love of shoes with his daughter, Jamee Denman. His brother worked at Foot Locker for 18 years, and he was a customer at Chicago sneaker destinations like Tony’s Sports in Hyde Park “back in the day,” he said.
“Me and my daughter, we both are sneakerheads,” Denman said. “It was something that we both could enjoy — I felt like it was a fun business and wasn’t as demanding as the restaurant business.”
Jamee Denman, 26, will “primarily” run the Hyde Park store. She’s a former basketball player for Bogan High School and California State University, Bakersfield, who has helped out with the Bronzeville location since moving back to Chicago.
“We’ve got it set up for her [so] she can have a great opportunity to enjoy the sneaker business,” James Denman said.
Denman also hopes to establish Sneakerville 88 franchises in the future, he said.
“The sneaker business is tough for us to get into, especially for minorities,” Denman said. “I have an opportunity to get my foot in the door, and I want to give out some opportunities to people that might be interested in enjoying the sneaker business as much as I do.”
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