You know the story: Retired superstar athlete opens a business in his hometown. Whether it’s a club or a restaurant, players often aim to branch out from basketball once their playing days are over, using their name-recognition to capitalize on a money-making opportunity. Former NBA All-Star and ’91 Rookie of the Year Derrick Coleman has followed suit, but for a totally different cause.
Coleman, who played 15 years in the League, purchased some land in his native Detroit years ago, and over time developed the area into a strip mall. The mall is home to many different businesses, such as a cell phone store, a barbershop, and different eateries. But the centerpiece of it all is Snyx Sneaker Boutique (pronounced “sneaks”), a Nike-exclusive store that carries limited-edition kicks only available in Detroit. Snyx is the icing on DC’s “Commerce for Community” project.
“I bought land in the west side of Detroit because I’m from here and I know the history. There hasn’t been any economic development in this area for 40 years,” says Coleman.
“We wanted to give back to our community, the community that helped us get to where we are,” says Tarence Wheeler, Coleman’s childhood friend and business partner. “Yes, making money is an aspect of this, but it isn’t why we’re doing this.”
The Snyx layout is serious. Designed to emulate a bar, the sneakers are displayed on the walls like bottles, while metal bar stools line the store. Coleman is convinced that his spot is a breath of fresh air and second-to-none in the oversaturated world of sneaker boutiques. “The bar concept came from a friend of mine,” he says. “The sneakers are displayed like liquor would be displayed in a bar, and customers can come in, sit down at a stool and pick their sneakers.”
To read the rest of this article, as well as get more info on Snyx and other sneaker-related material, pick up a copy of Dime #39 at a bookstore or newsstand near you.