For Ithaca sneakerheads, One Stop Kicks aims to be the perfect spot. The sneaker shop, which opened Oct. 9, provides special edition sneakers and an original fashion line.
20-year-old Christopher Parker, a local entrepreneur who graduated from Ithaca High School in 2018, began selling sneakers on Instagram and Snapchat in high school. He first resold his own shoes and later branched out to new shoes of different sizes and styles.
After a few years, Parker gained enough profit to open a brick-and-mortar store in his hometown at 107 South Cayuga Street. Parker said he plans to personally locate and curate all of his merchandise, seeking out and authenticating each pair as the store’s only operator.
“You gotta work for it,” Parker said of reselling. “It’s not easy.”
Parker’s starting inventory includes dozens of different types of sneakers. Stacks of shoes wrapped in airtight protective covers line the store walls. Behind the register, boxes pile high through an open curtain, and colorful LED lights beam through the shop.
Since opening the store two weeks ago, Parker has observed Ithaca residents of all ages coming in to shop. According to Parker, the Ithaca community has been very welcoming to his business so far.
Many people from around the Commons and from surrounding businesses have also visited One Stop to encourage Parker.
“A lot of people from the stores around me showed love,” he said. “A lot of people came and congratulated me.”
Parker said he enjoys many aspects of sneaker reselling, including finding products and constantly learning more about them. At the same time, Parker expressed caution about the fake shoes circulating the sneaker market. He estimated that out of 10 resellers, only three are likely to provide fair and honest deals.
As greater numbers of convincing fake sneakers have entered the market, Parker said he has had a harder time authenticating shoes, adding that he rejects any that he is not absolutely confident are real, losing out on potentially lucrative deals.
“You know you’re getting what you’re getting,” he said.
Customer of One Stop Ethan Bouasin said the store is a strong addition to the Ithaca community. A longtime friend of Parker, he said he views him as a brother. The unique inventory of One Stop Kicks attracts Bouasin to the store.
“[Parker] gets sneakers that you can’t even get,” Bouasin said.
Another customer of One Stop, Yahinese Tice, 20, visited the store for the first time on Sunday. Like Bouasin, Tice knew Parker before coming and appreciated the store’s wide variety.
“It’s with the Jordans in particular,” he said. “It broadens the horizons. It doesn’t make Ithaca a bubble anymore because you’re bringing upscale quality items at a consignment price”
To view similar shoes in-person before the store opened, Tice said that he would have to travel to areas like New York City.
Tice expressed enthusiasm about the style changes that might roll into Ithaca thanks to the store.
“It’s going to change up the energy, change up the culture up here,” Tice said.
Going forward, Parker said he feels excited for the store’s trajectory, planning to eventually expand with more clothing stock and sneakers.
For now, though, he said: “I’m just going with the flow. Whatever happens happens.”