Sneakers are getting to be a big business in Buffalo. I’m not talking about the everyday styles that you see at the mall, I’m talking about serious sneaker culture, where stores are buying, selling, and trading super unique, rare, and in some cases, fairly pricey kicks.
One of the newest sneaker shops to open is Ground Control, owned and operated by Mike Gates. Mike unleashed Ground Control this weekend, on a street that he says is “alive, with the perfect demographic.”
On opening day (Saturday, October 9), Mike held a grand opening celebration that included beats by DJ Philly Bee, and cupcakes made by his wife, who happens to own Sugar Bomb Bakery. Mike also unveiled his merchandise, featuring a wall of kickass sneaks.
Now, if you’re not familiar with sneaker culture – ie., you’re not a ‘sneakerhead’ – then there are a few things that you should know. First, you can’t just walk into a shop like Ground Control and ask to try on different sizes of sneakers.
What you see on the wall… is what you get. Furthermore, a few of the highly prized ‘pumped up kicks’ are shrink-wrapped, meaning that not a single person has ever laid their hands on the actual objects of desire. That’s right, you will find zero biscuits or maypops on Mike’s wall… and if you’re lucky, you will walk away with a score, but only if the shoe fits.
“We’re all about high fashion street culture,” Mike told me. “Blended with Buffalo culture – we’re always looking for local brands (clothing, accessories). I’m still in the process of building inventory. That means that I’m looking to network with people here in Buffalo. Our motto is ‘We are the culture.’ It’s important to let people know who you are. Style is a weapon!”
The next time that you’re out and about ‘shoepping’ (yup, that’s a term), looking for your grail, I highly suggest that you pay a visit to Ground Control. The shop is pretty sweet, and Mike is a great addition to the street. He’s in it to win it. But even more than that, he’s all about connecting with other people in the local fashion and footwear scene. It’s always nice to hear that a business owner is looking out for the best interests of his or her city.