Shoe Doctor Detroit co-owner Kenneth Taylor is in the shoe-cleaning business, and alongside his brother, opened up their store in 2013 and recently opened up an Atlanta location in 2021.
Photo courtesy of Shoe Doctor Detroit
It’s no surprise that the sneaker industry is growing by leaps and bounds and could be worth $30 billion by 2030, according to Cowen Equity Research.
Due to COVID-19, a growing number of sneakerheads (individuals with a passion for finding rare pairs with an itch to resell them) came on the scene and resold their shoes generating massive amounts of income as this side hustle became a lucrative business, as reported by Grey Journal. These sneaker owners could easily pocket between $1,000 to over a million dollars based on just one pair of shoes – depending on how valuable they are.
Retailers are also raking in some dough from Black people who especially are no strangers to the shoe game as they’ve purchased sneakers to the tune of $70 billion in 2020, BLACK ENTERPRISE reported. These buyers are recognized for their influence, which establishes the priceless commodity that is cultural currency.
“Our brand would not be what it is today without the powerful contributions of Black athletes and Black culture,” Nike President and CEO John Donahue said, per NBC News.
With all the money being made, unfortunately, only 5 percent of sneaker retailers in America are Black and are on the receiving end of this bustling industry, according to BLACK ENTERPRISE. However, while Black sneaker retailers are still finding their footing, there is another element of the sneaker industry that is fertile ground: shoe cleaning.
Locally, two Detroit brothers benefitting from the byproduct of the sneaker industry is the sneaker-cleaning business, Shoe Doctor Detroit at 18701 Livernois Ave. on the Livernois Avenue of Fashion.
Co-owned by Kenneth Taylor, 31,, and Danquel Huff, 33, the growing business deep cleans, restores and customizes shoes and boots and also operates another location in Atlanta, Ga.
Huff said that Taylor was the brains behind starting the business.
“He really kind of jumped it off,” Huff said adding that Taylor primarily runs the Detroit location after some ups and downs in the business. “We end up losing three other storefronts and opening back up and getting everything back together. … So right now … the business is doing pretty good. … we had to learn to get to where we are now.”
The shoe-cleaning operations use science and technology to clean and restore shoes that range from foreign sneakers to children’s shoes.
What’s popular at their shop now is foreign, high-end shoes like Gucci and Prada.
“There’s a high demand in that those are very expensive shoes and once you get them [dirty] you don’t really know how to clean them,” Huff said. “I know how to really handle certain suedes — things like that.”
Huff added that the company is already looking to expand, possibly to California.
The business is reaching greater heights and receiving more recognition and connections, especially after a recent partnership with college basketball player Antoine Davis through a social media agreement. Across social media, it’s very evident that Shoe Doctor Detroit is killing the game with the numerous celebrities Taylor takes photos with – they’re happy customers such as Tiny, Gunna and Killer Mike who once dropped off 40 pairs of shoes to clean.
“I care that we have a one trillion-dollar spending base, and if you want to see change, you have to start to focus on, economically, how can we change our communities,“ Killer Mike posted online.
Taylor said that he took the right move opening up in Atlanta, which he said has even more opportunities to link up with the Black entertainment industry who can spread the word about his business.
“Killer Mike just came in [recently] — you know he got a big platform and for him to come in and spread the word — it [brings] other opportunities,” Taylor said.
In early January, Taylor also took his business to the national stage during a pitch competition series, “Bet on Black” on REVOLT TV, where he competed for a chance to win $200,000.
Taylor said he couldn’t have done these things if it weren’t for the people and the cities backing him to succeed beyond his humble beginnings.
“It’s a blessing to know where I started,” Taylor, who started out of the trunk of his car, said. “To know where I’m at right now and the company is getting bigger by the day.”
For more information visit the Shoe Doctor at https://shoedoctorr.com/.