In a world where “Pawn Stars” and “Hardcore Pawn” and “Get Off My Pawn!” and “Pawn of a New America” are hit shows (NOTE: I could be imagining some of those titles), and in a world where high-end sneakers skyrocket in value the minute they are released, it only was a matter of time before someone opened a pawn shop for pricy kicks.
All it took was a 16-year-old kid from Harlem.
Chase Reed, a 10th-grader at Frederick Douglass Academcy in Harlem, opened Sneaker Pawn with his father and a family friend after he sold off his 200-pair sneaker collection for seed money. Reed also does custom paint jobs on sneakers, earning between $150 and $250 for each pair.
During school hours, his father and their sneaker-maven pal Rahsaan “Uncle Bless” Capers man the shop at Lenox Avenue and West 120th Street. They’re looking for “high-end sneakers or dead-stock sneakers” — pairs that are no longer being manufactured. If a prospective pawner’s kicks qualify, they give the shoes a whiff, check to see if they’re yellowing and examine the soles for excessive wear.
“After we evaluate it, we’ll give the kid, say, $100 for the sneakers. If he wants them back, he’ll pay the $100, plus $20 for storing the sneakers,” Troy said.
If someone makes an offer, the pawner is notified and has the right of first refusal, provided they can pony up the cash. If the sneakers sell for more, the pawner keeps 80 percent of the profit and the rest goes to the store.
A lightly worn pair’s value can jump exponentially compared to its initial retail price. A pair of Nike Air Yeezys — Kanye West’s signature sneakers — are currently selling for from $1,700 to $15,000 on eBay. Originally, they went for $263. Kanye’s own purported pair of Yeezys are going for $50,000.
Chase, it should be noted, owns three pairs of Yeezys, and the Post reports that he’s been offered close to $17,000 for them.
Chase told the Post that people have pawned off their kicks for a number of reasons: to pay for a brother’s funeral or prom dresses, for instance.
Another savvy investor flipped a pair of LeBron Crown Jewels and two pairs of Jordans and used the thousands in profit to pay for his move to The Bronx from Brooklyn.
The store’s priciest pawned pairs so far — those Crown Jewels — are commanding $1,400, more than five times the $270 sticker price.
“I don’t look at it like a business. It’s what I do. It’s what I breathe,” Chase told the Post. “It’s an idea that’s right in front of your face. It’s just about bringing the idea to life.”