Foot Locker recently opened a community-based Store in Crenshaw, California on Wednesday, February 16. The new space is housing elite sneakers, apparel, and looks to provide a balanced retail experience which includes the concerns of the surrounding community.
In addition to a “full-family” shopping experience, the new location will display custom store artwork by local muralists and “activation spaces” that will host continuous community events. Additionally, Foot Locker has built a platform to collaborate with local clothing lines, known as Home Grown.
The ribbon-cutting celebration and grand opening of Foot Locker’s West Coast community-based Store was in Crenshaw, California. Located at 3222 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles, the new store opened on Wednesday, February 16.
On the day of the grand opening, Dreamers Youth was welcomed by Foot Locker Crenshaw for a photography contest, partnering with an acclaimed L.A. visual artist. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Foot Locker Crenshaw organized with Dreamers Youth and renowned Crenshaw-based artist SlauCienga. Their artwork will be on exhibit around the store.
“Pride in My Neighborhood” was the concept of the photography contest. Dreamers Youth were given total artistic freedom to develop their skills by capturing a location or individual in their neighborhood who influenced them.
The pictures were showcased all throughout Foot Locker Crenshaw showroom, and the youth conversed with SlauCienga about their story behind the ideas for their images.
The young adults enjoyed the event with laughter, food, and they took home a Foot Locker backpack with a pair of sneakers. Additionally, Three Dreamers were presented with a $150 gift card.
Dreamers Youth is a non-profit service that supports children with untapped potential in underprivileged areas. They develop custom experiences that exposes youth to a world of limitless creative possibilities.
In this program, children are paired with mentors who look to create a pathway for them, honing into the career and life of their dreams. The Dreamer’s Youth mission is to assist children to develop their entrepreneurial skills and emotional intelligence.
Foot Locker commissioned local artists Terrick Gutierrez and Gustavo Zermeno to design custom artwork and murals for the store walls, in honor of the Crenshaw and surrounding communities. The new retail space will be a shopping destination for footwear, apparel, and accessories from major athletic-lifestyle brands such as Nike, Jordan, Converse, Adidas, Puma, in addition to neighborhood-designed capsules.
Foot Locker has pledged to recruit locals who are naturally attracted to sneakers and youth culture. Over 65 percent of full-time and part-time staffers are from the Crenshaw neighborhood, and all shop managers are natives of the area.
To encourage Foot Locker’s “Home Grown” local brand initiative, the store will also sell exclusive capsule products from a carefully selected group of local clothing lines.
The objective of Home Grown is to provide accessibility to subculture creators, encouraging individuals to display products while utilizing Foot Locker’s connections. This will have a major impact within the community as the sneaker expert brand fosters the next generation of designers are the future generation of designers.
Senior marketing manager Lorena Serrano explained the Home Grown process, “We’re creating an incubator program—we are going to reach out to the community of designers that want to showcase their designs.” She elaborated on the different levels they are working with, from self-manufacturing clothing brands to those developing their product to be ready for mass production.
Serrano continued, “The brands you see here [collection displayed in the store] were already established in the community, we reached out to them and said, ‘Hey would you like to be part of the Home Grown initiative?’ and they either wholesale to us [Foot Locker] or we license their designs.
Foot Locker didn’t step into their new area blindly; they acknowledged the temperature of the community and their concern surrounding the grocery market that closed in the same plaza.
South Los Angeles is facing the dangers of a food desert, with a 20 percent or higher poverty rate and one-third of the residents live a mile or more away from a supermarket.
Serrano considered the concerns of the community, she stated, “First and foremost, I’m born and raised in East L.A., each pocket of L.A. is very different, facing its gentrification issues. For me, Lorena Serrano as a person, it’s extremely important that we identify the needs of the community before we say, ‘hey we’re coming and this is the program we are doing,’ absolutely not.”
The senior marketing manager continued, “We partnered with Tech Leimert–with Paris McCoy, she’s been our consultant to make sure every single detail was true to the community, every single opportunity was true, and every nuance was considered.”
“In that regard, we understand that this is a food desert, we understand that people are traveling two hours away. It was extremely important for us [Foot Locker] to advocate and become an ally with Hanks Mini Market. We have a pop-up outside, for this entire week–in the instant moment that we can satisfy that concern, we are providing reusable bags filled with groceries purchased at Hanks Mini Market for the community to take.” Serrano said.
Park Mesa Heights Community Council President KimMarie Johnson-Roussell and accompanying board member Robbye Davis were in attendance. Davis reflected on the new opening by stating, “This store is going to be monitored, to make sure whatever it has promised, that’s what going to have to happen here. President Johnson-Roussell and Davis are expecting Foot Locker to be in step with the community and uphold a youth component.
Community Member Kim Yurgan was there in peaceful protest of the grand opening, she expressed her frustration in trying to gather food in her area, “It’s not very reflective of the community or sympathetic of the community.” She expressed the plaza is not sympathetic towards the local neighborhood. “They’re [council district] going along with no grocery store for a gym shoe store.”
Foot Locker Executive Ken Side responded to the energy surrounding the community concerns, by stating, “Before we go to these neighborhoods, we run a series of focus groups that Lorena leads, we bring in local merchants, local designers, we bring in eateries and high school students–and we ask them, ‘What do you need, what is it that you want, and what are you looking for?’ anything from size, shape, the color of clothing, footwear, and brands, to what does your neighborhood need—where should put our store be?”
The new Foot Locker store is located at 3222 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles. Follow the store on social media @footlockerLA for updates and community events.