Downtown Royal Oak is known for its boutiques but few have as many unique aspects as Burn Rubber.
small business is more than a shoe store, it’s a sneaker boutique.
Customers don’t come in to buy shoes. Sneakerheads spend days in line Star Wars-style to buy kicks that double as art and status symbols.
“We sell a lifestyle,” says Roland Coit, co-owner of Burn Rubber.
“It’s more about being your own person. Most of the stuff we have they
only make 1,000 pairs or 500, or even less, and they sell out fast.
It’s a lifestyle of exclusivity.”
It explains why Coit and his
partner Rick Williams need only 480 square feet of space and six people
to do business. It’s unnecessary to have a large retail floor for shoes
that come in short supply, like Nike Air Yeezys (Kanye West’s shoe) and Clark Kent Air Force 1s.
shoes are often made of expensive leather and horse hair. It explains
why prices can get into the $300s for a pair or even higher. Coit and
Williams even know where to point people who are looking for
personalized shoes with graffiti-like art.
“That makes a shoe that much more limited,” Coit says. “It makes it one of a kind.”
Source: Roland Coit, co-owner of Burn Rubber
Writer: Jon Zemke