Expo expands, sneakerheads talk celebrities

Flower Power bear sneakers by Jeremy Scott and Adidas. Photo by Leon Laing.

Flower Power bear sneakers by Jeremy Scott and Adidas. Photo by Leon Laing.

After holding his sneaker expo for five years, Jordan Stasyszyn will be expanding. “Our goal is two expos a year,” he tells our website. Before 2016, he held the Harrisburg Sneaker Expo once a year. This year, the event occurred on March 13 and Aug. 7.

Jerry Gunsley and Andrew Murphy travelled from Ohio to sell sneakers at Harrisburg’s Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center. Gunsley owns Cleveland Sneakers, and Murphy is CEO of Youngstown Kicks. With underdog Cleveland Cavaliers clinching the NBA Finals this year, we wanted to know how Gunsley, a Cleveland resident, felt.

“It was amazing seeing a Cleveland team actually win and coming back the way they did against the Warriors,” Gunsley explains. “Cleveland was an electric atmosphere for a solid week.” Gunsley, 15, also gave tips to succeed like 16-year-old famous sneaker dealer Benjamin Kickz. “Get a good start cash wise, he advises. “Buying low and reselling high is what it takes.”

Spencer Blake was a vendor in March and August. The owner of York-based 717 Soles met celebrity The Ape in New York City recently. The Ape, an avid supporter of the high-end urban clothing line A Bathing Ape, is the archnemesis to customers of Supreme, another posh urban clothing line. Blake, who sported Bape shorts, rode his hover board around the expo on Aug. 7.

Some other vendors came from the eastern region of Pennsylvania. They include All Smilez Customz and Ianjpaintedit. One of the more unique sneakers, the Flower Power bear sneakers by Jeremy Scott and Adidas, was being sold by a Harrisburg-based vendor. About 250-300 people attended the event.

Stasyszyn also talks with us about celebrities in the sneaker industry.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan, who has the iconic sneaker line, broke his silence recently about social issues. How do you feel about that? I love what M.J. did. What is most important and respectable about what he did is that he didn’t make this just a black/white issue. He respected all sides and used the platform to support both those honorable policemen and African-American males who are too commonly the victim of police abuse.

I heard on the radio that Kanye will be launching a more affordable sneaker line. The price tag will be around $30. Do you think this will happen? I’m not sure if the $30 Kanyes will happen. His shoes sell out so quick for the sole purpose of people reselling and making a profit. [Therefore,] there is really no point in making them affordable because the people who want them can’t get them anyway.

We asked Jerry Gunsley what it takes to be a successful dealer like Benjamin Kickz. We’ll ask you the same question. The most important part is knowing the market. With today’s releases becoming more and more available for consumers, it’s easy to get stuck with pairs you thought would sell. Another important part of the process is patience and cash flow. If you aren’t moving pairs quickly to make a few bucks, having the patience and financial stability to hold onto pairs can be important. Also, sometimes the most profitable way to resell can be lightly used shoes. It’s all about knowing your market and consumer base. [Kickz’] level of success cannot be expected, but you can still be profitable.

By Leon Laing
Additional reporting by Christian Laing

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