North Platte teen to open sneaker shop downtown

A young entrepreneur began buying and selling items online that led him to decide to open a brick-and-mortar location in downtown North Platte.

Tim Blakely, a 14-year-old eighth grader at North Platte Catholic Schools, has taken what he learned into the world of business, in particular sneakers. His shop, Shoe Shakk, will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 4.

Amira Dior Traynham-Artis designed her first sneaker two years ago, and later launched her own signature sneaker line, Lane 1.

It is located at 105 E. Fifth St., Suite 103, which is in the historic Mutual Building. The entry is to the west side of the Mutual’s main entrance downstairs.

The popularity of top-notch sneakers exploded years ago with basketball players like Michael Jordan wearing their brand while playing in the National Basketball Association, said Chris Blakely, Tim’s dad.

“The store was my idea,” Tim said. “It started with an eBay store online. But then we got some cash and bought some sneakers and I told my dad about it and we decided to start a store.”

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He said one reason for the retail business is that there aren’t any such sneakers stores between Lincoln and Denver. The Shakk only stocks sneakers.

“We have some Dunks, we have Jordan Highs and Jordan Lows; we have Jordan 4s, Jordan 5s and others,” Tim said. “We have a lot of types of shoes we can get.”

In general, Chris said, Air Jordan, Yeezy and Nike Dunks are collectibles and those three brands are the hot sellers. The shop carries only collectible and authentic sneakers.

Tim has done research and learned from YouTube videos how sneakers purchases and sales work.

“I learned a lot from that. I also looked up shoes on sites like StockX and I do a lot of other things like on eBay,” Tim said. “We went to Sneaker Con and made connections with a whole bunch of people that buy and sell sneakers too. That’s where we got most of our sneakers.”

Sneaker Con is a convention where buyers and sellers gather to display their wares and make connections.

“We sell both new and used,” Tim said. “I would say we have 70% new and 30% used.”

Chris said the industry has a whole language of its own that defines the various shoes. A shoe that has never been worn or tried on and has the box with it is called a “deadstock” shoe.

“You might have bought a shoe for $150 and it’s becoming popular, so now it’s worth $400,” Chris said. “You might have a shoe that someone has tried on so you have VNDS, ‘very near deadstock,’ and if you’ve worn it one time around, it’s called ‘used.’”

He said each level affects the value and whether it has an original box affects the value as well. The design of the shoe also has an impact.

“The colorway is the color design, and the color blocking is where they put the colors,” Chris said. “All of that plays into the value of these shoes.”

Chris said sneakers are really a long-term investment, much like investing in the stock market. The Blakelys purchased a pair of used 1994 Air Jordan sneakers that are valued at about $800.

“New, never worn, in the box, they would probably sell for upwards of $3,000,” Chris said.

The business requires a close watch as Chris said there are companies that manufacture fake sneakers. The Blakelys have learned how to identify the real thing from the fake.

“You can tell by feeling the tongue of the shoe,” Chris said. “The genuine sneakers are soft and comfortable, while the fakes are stiff.”

He said when the shoes are purchased, they are first sent to an “authenticator,” a person who researches the shoe and verifies that it is the real deal. Only then is the shoe shipped to the Blakelys for their shop.

Tim will not be handling the financial side of the business, but using his expertise on sneakers will do all the buying and selling, negotiating and social networking.

His favorite subjects in school are math and science, and “I do well in school overall.” He said he’s also involved in student council, cross country, basketball, track and wrestling.

Chris and his wife, Ann Marie, said the shop will be open just one day a week because they want Tim to stay focused on school.

The business also has a website at where shoes can be purchased or appointments set to view the shoes the Shoe Shakk has in stock.

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