Sneaker retailer The Plug expands to a new reading place


At a time when traditional physical sneaker stores are losing popularity, I continue to grow up reading.

On September 18, Plug cut the ribbon outside a nearly 8,000 square foot new home at 547 Penn St. This is just 3 blocks from the 450 square foot Tyler Simmons store, which opened in 2015.

Simmons hasn’t traveled that far in terms of distance and time, and it only took five years to grow, but his start-up business has come a long way from where it started. Is to sell sneakers in the trunk of a car.

“In my opinion, the lessons learned there were more valuable than any college you could go to, so thank God for this 450 square foot store,” Simmons said. “The lessons learned there were real life lessons and business lessons.

“It just prepared me. I had to experience it. I must have been in a small store. I had to learn. All of these things, now I’m looking back like, “Oh, okay, that’s why it happened.” It was all part of the process. “

Simmons’ success story is one of diligence, patience and refusal to quit smoking, but it also recognizes industry trends. Turn foresight into opportunity.

“Resale has grown much faster than retail,” Simmons said. “You notice all the malls and things, if you’re not a big KOP (King of Pracha Mall) or something like that, you’re hurt.”

The origin story of the take

The plugs differ from most sneaker stores in that their business model is based on buying, selling, and dealing with sneakers previously purchased from retail stores. The shoes are often worn gently, but always look new. It may also be new as it has never been removed from its original box.

Many pairs of Jordan’s and other designer sneakers are considered collectibles, come in limited quantities, aren’t sold in most stores, or are only available online.

Basketball heads line up on launch dates or win the digital lottery to purchase the latest products, then resell popular, hard-to-find shoes, often for more than what you paid for. To do.

“The chain stores disappeared because they didn’t adapt to the times. We’re a new walking locker, ”said Simmons, a retailer who was once synonymous with sneakers.

Yet when he wanted to join the resale game in 2013, Simmons didn’t hear much support for the idea.

“People thought I was crazy,” he said. “Oh, who buys the sneakers I used for a while?” “

But veteran Simmons knew he was working on something the whole time when he saw him running a store the way he envisioned him.

“I’ve seen stores like this in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Japan because I’m in the military and have traveled half the world,” he said. “It gave me insight and vision, yes it can.

“So I came home like, ‘Do you want to have a spare sneaker store here? “Everybody was like, ‘No, I have to go to New York, I have to go to Philadelphia or something. “It was a while.”

The plug launched five years ago, and Simmons is a trailblazer, like the retro Jordans and Nike in all the colors of the rainbow on the store shelves.

“Now everyone is trying to do it,” he said. “Years and years ago I knew what the outcome would be, and that’s what changed him. “

For the city of reading

Simmons has been passionate about sneakers since he was a kid, so it was no surprise to those who knew him when he opened the outlet.

Following the launch of the take, Schuylkill Valley High School’s 9th grade introduction to business class classmates contacted him and reminded him of his long-forgotten end of year plan to open a store. of sneakers.

“It’s always been my passion,” said Simmons, who graduated from high school in Florida. “Always, always, always in sneakers. Anyone who knows me knows that every time he sees Tyler, there is something fresh at his feet.

“Sometimes life comes along, you’re a side road – but that was the time, yo, it’s your call.”

Simmons attributed his success to “hard work, dedication, determination and discipline” in addition to having the right ideas at the right time.

“All of these words are part of your dreams, goals and ambitions,” he said. “Life will come. A snapshot from a financial institution disappointed me and made a stupid decision on my part that I made. No one in my family is in business and no one knows. No. I knew everything I had learned including how to sell sneakers.

“You have to start somewhere, and all of them have come and I’ve learned.”

With the launch of Alvernia Read College Towne just below the street, Simmons recognized another opportunity. This time he moved his business to a larger storefront with higher visibility and traffic.

According to Simmons, being a reading native, the opportunity to participate in the beautification and improvement of the downtown area meant there was no other place to move the socket.

With the move to 547 Penn St., Simmons’ lifelong love for Dope Kick came to an end. It was the former location of another retail sneaker chain, Villa, waiting outside the door for the release of a large sneaker.

Now that’s his store and he’s not ready to reveal a concrete plan, but Simmons promises the big revival is just beginning.

“Know that I am involved in putting the city on the map in a positive way,” he said. “We don’t do it anymore.

“Please look forward to it. The big ones come from the caps.

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