New shop gives the local sneaker culture a kick

A new Calgary business is determined to kick sneaker culture to new heights in the city.

Lexington Ave Culture Spot is Calgary’s newest one-stop shop for all things related to the growing sneaker scene in Southern Alberta.

The shop is located on 11th Avenue S.W. just west of 5th Street in the Beltline.

Lexington Ave, which opened in November, 2014, provides an outlet for young, impressionable “sneaker heads” to purchase and collect rare and affordable shoes that are hard to find in Canada.

Alex Clarke, 30, the founder of Lexington Ave, initially had difficulty getting the company off the ground.

“I see why people go to business school,” Clarke explained in a interview.

“I never had an opportunity to go to college or university.”

Clarke’s inspiration to start Lexington Ave came from living in a city that lacked a strong sneaker culture.

Cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, where Clarke is originally from, have distinct urban scenes, whereas Calgary is still an untapped market.

“I want to give people in Calgary the chance at shoes they can’t get, without the fear of being ripped off,” Clarke said.

In the world of sneaker culture, Michael Jordan is often considered as the head honcho.

Jordan’s global influence on basketball and his trademark Jordan sneakers were the catalyst in for sneaker lovers to unite.

“Michael Jordan is sneakers,” Clarke explained.

There is also a dark side to sneaker culture, however.

Authenticity is one of the most important aspects in shoe collecting, but fake ones seem to go undetected.

“You can tell if a shoe is a fake just by picking it up,” Clarke said.

“The weight of it, colours of the box and material all determine whether or not the shoe is a fake.”

Since the store’s inception, Lexington Ave has been steadily building a good client base and relationships with its customers.

Albert Mejia, the manager of Lexington Ave, developed a love for sneakers at a young age.

The 24-year-old started collecting shoes at the age of 11.

“I would save money from my birthdays, Christmas, and allowance just to buy shoes,” Mejia said.

“I always wanted to look fresh.”

Mejia is the founder of the Facebook group YYC SOLEdiers and the clothing brand Legal Hustle, which is available at Lexington Ave Culture Spot.

YYC SOLEdiers is a place for Calgary sneaker fans to connect, and share pictures of their favourite shoes and brands.

“It’s the first group of its kind in Calgary and that’s huge,” Mejia said.

As the founder of Legal Hustle, Mejia has done well marketing his brand and translating his love for fashion into something lucrative.

“Alex gave me the opportunity to sell my brand at his store and be his manager,” Mejia said.

“It’s a foundation that will only continue to flourish.”

Local Calgary rapper Ernest Small, a.k.a. Kirby Small, has frequently bought from Lexington Ave and sings it praises.

“I got my little brother a pair of Jordan’s for Christmas from Lexington Ave and he couldn’t have been happier,” Small said.

“Alex and his whole team do an incredible job of popularizing sneaker culture in Calgary.”

I want to give people in Calgary the chance at shoes they can’t get, without the fear of being ripped off. – Alex Clarke

Like many up and coming stores, Lexington Ave Culture Spot markets itself through social media and predominantly word of mouth.

For more information on Lexington Ave Culture Spot, please visit their Facebook.

About Colin Piedad 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Colin Piedad is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.