It's been touted as the first sneaker-centric bricks and mortar pawn shop to exist – although there have been plenty running worldwide for at least the past two decades, anyone heard of Flight Club? – and it's now open for business in Harlem. Apparently the idea of 16-year-old New Yorker Chase Reid after his dad wouldn't loan him some deniro so he could buy a new shoe he wanted, the store offers to sell your sneaks on consignment. Chase's dad Troy has took the idea as the golden goose he's been waiting for and clearly did a lot of the heavy lifting in getting the shop up and running and nailing a lot of mainstream media spots. They've played the game very well – newspaper and network journalists are always so bemused and curious by sneaker culture, it's easy fodder for a soft news story. However, from what we've seen of the store so far, it seems pretty decent, and Chase is a keen sneaker artist too and offers sneaker restoration and customisation services in-store.
Sneaker Pawn USA have got a couple of nifty initiatives that set 'em apart from the other sneaker swap shops to show it ain't all about the bottom line; they offer to pay cash for your shoes if you're in serious need of some money and then give you the chance to buy 'em back within an agreed set time for the price the shop paid plus 20 bucks storage fee. If you don't buy 'em back, they'll sell 'em off – that'll teach the kids about fiscal responsibility. They also run a 'Walk Like A Ball Player' program, donating game worn shoes to up and coming players who need a decent pair to hit the hardwood in. Watch the Bloomberg interview above and the very dramatic promo video below to understand the deal widdit. Hit their website here.