When Separate Equals Hungry

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Sneakerville 88.... Slam Dunk Success

Photo Credit:
Photo by CNW Media

Kicks are for the culture and if you’re looking for this season's hottest “One’s” Sneakerville 88 in Hyde Park’s Harper Court is clutch for sure. Owner and local business mogul James Denman Jr.is setting up the culture for success and has been waiting for the right moment to expand his brand into Hyde Park.

“This is my second location and everything I’ve done has been in or near Bronzeville, this is a beautiful area and I’ve always wanted to come here. I love the diversity here and would come here often growing up to see the show across the street, so when the opportunity presented itself I took it” said the Englewood Native whose flagship store is located at 112 E. 35th Street.

Fly kicks are a shared language no matter the age and this new endeavor is not only an intergenerational one, it’s a family affair.
The Hyde Park location was a gift to Jamee, Denman’s 28 year old daughter, “I’m giving her a headstart in life and an opportunity to get into a business that she enjoys,” said Denman. The father daughter duo also own Harold’s Chicken and Sports Bar and another right next door to the Bronzeville sneaker store.

The new business makes 4 brick and mortar stores, and the new Hyde Park store kicked off opening day welcoming nearly 100 people including Ald. Lamont Robinson (4th Ward), Ald. Stephanie Coleman (1st Ward) and local NBA legend Mark Aguire. “It was a great first day,” shared Denman who later hosted shoppers and supporters to a light celebration in the later hours of the opening.

Danisha and Durell J. were just passing by when they saw the grand opening sign and popped in. “He is such a sneaker addict,” said Danisha playfully, “I’ll call him a sneakerhead to make it sound better, but he’s bought three pairs of shoes just in the last 2 weeks.” Durell has no problem being labeled an addict and shares, “I love colors and matching my outfit, I like to look good,” he said.

Denman’s vision is to serve the community and bring opportunity and is most excited to hire people and give them jobs. “One of the main reasons I started these businesses is to hire, I live to give to people and employment is paramount,” shared Denman. At the moment his businesses provide 25 full time positions. He attributes his business acumen in some part to his mother who was a postal worker that instilled in him the desire to broaden himself outside of the norm. His years being educated at Curie High School gave him the chance to connect with peers from different backgrounds and undoubtedly has benefited his success to date along with hard work, honesty and great customer service. Denman believes “customer service is the most important part of owning a business, you can have a good product but if you can’t treat people well and right you’re not going to win in any business,” he said.

As the buzz from the grand opening quiets, James has his sights set on unique partnerships and novel ways of using the space. “People have asked me about podcasts here in the space and I plan on carrying other Black clothing brands like I do products from the community at my Harolds on S. Michigan, I’m open to exploring everything,” shared Denman. Besides his current stores he is invested in the cannabis sector and even bottled water. When asked what his ultimate goal was he crossed his hands, smiled and said, “my goal is generational wealth.”

Photo Credit:
James Denman’s (pictured right) vision is to serve the community and bring opportunity and is most excited to hire people and give them jobs.

About Author:

Dr. Mila Marshall is an environmental professional and journalist with a passion for advancing sustainability in all sectors. Her passion is directed towards urban food systems in segregated cities.



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