polo sweaters cheap love of sneakers results in passion project
Joe Haden estimates that he owns between 1,000 and 1,100 sneakers.
The majority are Jordans, but the Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl cornerback also has plenty of kicks from the LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant collections.
The Restock Cleveland opened on Black Friday, Nov. 28, with a few of Haden’s Browns teammates (most notably Josh Gordon, Donte Whitner and Andrew Hawkins), as well as Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson, in attendance. The store which offers consignment shoes that cater to the whims of sneakerheads who look forward to the release dates of their favorite brands as eagerly as some Browns fans yearn for a playoff run is at 645 Prospect Ave., the former home of Mike the Hatter.
“Since I was 6 years old, I loved, loved shoes,” Haden said. “Back in the day, that’s when the Jordans came out and you had to wait around for them. I always knew the days they came out.”
Haden’s friends and business partners, David VanGieson and Anthony Ho, share his passion for kicks. The pair owned a popular consignment shop in Lakewood, United Sneakers, that closed when its lease ran out in October.
United Sneakers didn’t shutter after one year because it wasn’t successful. It closed because Haden, after watching and admiring the way in which VanGieson and Ho ran their business, bought them out and moved the new operation downtown.
“They proved to me, and they didn’t even know it at the time I could see them controlling the business and being able to run it,” Haden said. “I just want to make sure that I give them the resources to make it something special.”
Haden has the financial backing to make the company work.
The 25 year old signed a five year, $67.5 million contract extension with the Browns in May, a deal that piggybacked the five year, $50 million contract Haden signed after he was selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.
His father, Joe Sr., shares his son’s love of shoes, and Haden credits his dad for his entrepreneurial spirit.
Joe Sr., a former bodybuilder, started a personal training business in Maryland when Joe, the oldest of five boys, was in high school.
After Haden signed his huge rookie deal, he invested in his father’s business, and made it “a little bit bigger.” Together, they own the Maryland gym, Haden Sports Performance, along with Haden Properties, which has several Baltimore buildings in its real estate portfolio.
The latest venture,
The Restock, is a little closer to Haden’s heart.
“I want to, of course, make a lot of money on it, but this is a personal thing,” he said. “It’s something that’s fun. I can enjoy it.”
The busy Browns player also can trust his friends, VanGieson and Ho, to manage the store while he is concentrating much of his efforts on football.
Ho, 27, and VanGieson, 23, are Parma natives who went to high school at Valley Forge. VanGieson met Haden while the former worked for Next at the Beachwood Place Mall, one of the many spots at which Haden, an apparel aficionado, would shop.
VanGieson later became Haden’s assistant. Their friendship became so strong that Haden entrusted VanGieson to look after his younger brother Jacob, who has special needs and is unable to communicate verbally.
“The relationship they have is pretty special,” Haden said of Jacob and VanGieson.
It’s gotta be the shoesHo said The Restock only has two employees himself and VanGieson who man the store seven days a week.
During a recent afternoon, Ho pointed a visitor to the front of the store, which features previously worn sneakers that are “a little cheaper.” Closer to the register are the vintage shoes that look like they have just been removed from the box with prices ranging from $200 to $350. On the left of the store are makeshift lockers featuring the jerseys of Haden, Gordon, Thompson, Whitner, LeBron James, Johnny Manziel, Brian Hoyer and Phil Taylor.
“We buy people’s sneakers, and we’re also a consignment shop,” Ho said. “We sell their sneakers for them for a fee. We let them pick the price, and we take 15% off that once we sell it.”
On opening day, almost 1,000 people showed up at The Restock, which VanGieson said “definitely exceeded” the group’s expectations.
The store doesn’t advertise, and with Haden, who has more than 500,000 combined followers on Instagram and Twitter, they might not need to.
“Social media is huge,” VanGieson said. “Obviously, we got lucky with having Joe and his ability to outreach to people. With Joe comes the other Cleveland athletes that kind of look out for Joe. He’s friends with most of the Cleveland athletes.”
Haden has plans for more, too.
“That’s the thing: You just can’t go into a Foot Locker or a Finish Line and get these shoes,” Haden said. “These are shoes that came out a while back,
and we’re bringing them back into the city.”