Youngstown Kicks Aims for Mid-October Opening

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Andrew Murphy of Canfield has been interested in athletic shoes for about a decade. Now he’s bringing that interest to downtown, where he hopes the growing downtown residential population as well as downtown workers and visitors will share that interest and patronize his new store.

Murphy is working on preparing the storefront previously occupied by Greyland Gallery to open Youngstown Kicks by mid-October. He will appear before the city’s design review committee Tuesday to seek approval for his proposed signage. He said he knows the previous tenant of the space, who encouraged him to take it over and “create something with it,” he said.

“This is the greatest city in the world,” Murphy said. What he will stock is “something we don’t have and it’s something I’d like to bring to the city.” 

The building, at 23 W. Federal St., was constructed in 1924 and once housed a car dealership, according to Bill Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. 

“He’s done quite a bit of clean up and given the space a nice, fresh look,” said Nikki Posterli, chief of staff to Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and director of the city’s department of community planning and economic development.

There are more than 3,300 athletic shoe stores in the United States and revenue by the end of the year is expected to exceed $20 billion, according to IBISWorld, a global market research firm.

Murphy’s interest in shoe culture started with seeing a pair of shoes that a friend wore, he said.

“From that point, I just fell in love with the culture,” including its various influences, such as hip hop, rap, jazz and other musical styles and “the design that gives you the style that you want,” he said. 

The store will specialize in athletic footwear, carrying new pairs of familiar brands such as Nike, Adidas Solomon and New Balance, as well as previously worn shoes. Prices for shoes will range from $20 to some “that can reach up to five-digit numbers,” Murphy said. He pulled out a pair of the original Air Jordan 1 sneakers, a model that one online auction site showed an asking price of $100,000.   

“Everything I acquire I have to travel across the United States for,” he said. Some of the items he acquires are hundreds – in some cases thousands – of miles away.  He sees potential clients in the young professionals who are increasingly locating in downtown as well as in student housing near Youngstown State University.

Murphy also will sell clothing and provide sneaker cleaning services. Any previously owned sneakers he sells will go through a deep-clean process that includes vacuum sanitizing and ultraviolet treatment.

The store also will offer a lounge area for patrons to relax, he said.

“It’s really important to downtown Youngstown to make something that was new again,” he remarked.

Stephanie Gilchrist, Youngstown economic development director, ias enthusiastic about the prospect of new retail coming downtown.

“I am excited to see entrepreneurship downtown and throughout our city. Our city was built on it and we want it to thrive from it,” she said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.