The dream for Dominic Mashorda is to end up in Fairfax, Cal., which he calls the “shopping omega” of the Golden State.
But the starting line for the 18-year-old entrepreneur is 25 W. Federal St. in downtown Youngstown. It’s the location of his self-started business, SneakerVille — a shoe store that sells collectors editions and some of the rarest pairs of kicks around.
“I always wanted to bring something to Youngstown — that sneaker and fashion culture,” Mashorda said. “I wanted to bring kind of the New York fashion sense and style, which is my personal liking, because there’s just none of it here.”
SneakerVille opened in early January and has approximately 200 pairs of shoes in stock. The store currently offers mainly retro Air Jordan’s (I-XXIII) as well as numerous Nike basketball shoe editions, including LeBron James’, Kevin Durant’s and Kobe Bryant’s. Prices run anywhere from $125 to $6,000.
It also offers a small clothing section of hoodies and coats, as well as fitted and snapback-style hats.
However, Mashorda admits the store is only about halfway finished. Soon, SneakerVille will feature multiple designer shoe brands, women’s footwear and a larger clothing section. He estimates the store will have 400-500 pairs of shoes in about a month.
And while it seems like quite the responsibility for the recent Cardinal Mooney High School graduate and his small team of employees, this is just what they wanted.
“I’ve got my three guys that work for me who help hold it down and put it all together,” Mashorda said. “They care about SneakerVille as if it were their own. So they put in the grind just as much as I do and we all work together real well and it just kind of clicks.”
What is now a profession started as a hobby when Mashorda was in the sixth grade. Always with a love for shoes, he began buying and collecting them when he noticed an opportunity early in his high school years.
“I realized you can make some money off selling them,” he said. “So I started buying my own pair and then an extra pair to pay for mine. Then it came to where I was buying as many as I could, selling them, getting my pair for free and making some extra money on the side too.”
It’s the tactic he still uses to run SneakerVille, obtaining shoes from a source in Cleveland as well as contacts he has made throughout the country.
“It became real profitable and I didn’t have to work a job or anything,” he said. “So I’d just sit at home all day and make money and play with shoes. I did it all of senior year and made some nice money to be able to fund this project and open a store.”
Mashorda noticed the white building — now interiorly designed with red walls, manila wooden floors and graffiti art — one day while driving through downtown. He acquired the property in early September, put it through immediate renovations and opened it three months later.
“Opening day we had almost 200 people come through and sold 20-30 pairs or something like that,” he said. “Since then we’ve had some steady traffic every day.”
Mashorda gets business from a wide range of customers, from children to collectors in their 40s and 50s.
“It’s just the cool thing to have,” he said. “You want to have the new Jordan’s, the new Nike’s. And then I have people like myself that are just true sneakerheads — that’s kind of our term for us — that don’t necessarily grab every release that comes out, but we buy what we like.”
Simply put, SneakerVille differs from the typical shoe store.
“There are some shoes we have that are limited and hard to get,” Mashorda said. “You can’t find them anywhere unless you come into SneakerVille.”
And while he’s focused on the day-to-day business of his prospering store, Mashorda’s also sure to have the west coast on his horizon.
“I’m going to have the original SneakerVille right here as long as I can,” he said. “But once the funds are right and it’s grown and we’re known, [California] is the plan.”