Pella Chronicle

Local News

January 3, 2014

Sneakerheads flock to Pella

Pella — For a “sneakerhead,” the release of an Air Jordan Retro 11 can mean waiting in line for days, even in below freezing temperatures, for a pair.

“(The shoe) is the pinnacle level of basketball, it is the greatest, it was worn by the greatest player ever,” said Sports Page Owner Phil Hemming. 

At the release of the Air Jordan Retro 11 “Gamma Blue” Saturday, the scene outside of the Pella Sports Page did feature a camp out after the store closed Friday (Dec. 20), as a group of eight men who had traveled from Des Moines grilled out in front of the store and took turns in their cars to stay warm through the night.

By 9 a.m. the following day, the 14 pairs of Air Jordans were sold almost immediately as the doors opened.

“I’d say everybody who wanted a pair, got a pair,” said Terrance Martz, manager of the Pella Sports Page.

This result is not always the case, Hemming said. Just the week before, another Air Jordan release ended with only 12 pairs for 24 people in line, which left some customers disgruntled.

“We can’t do a lot about the amount we have to sell, that is up to the company,” he said.

Air Jordan became its own separate brand from Nike in 1997, but the same company owns both. The one significant difference in design was the Nike “swoosh” was replaced by the “jump man” insignia.

While the craze over its 40 to 50 shoe releases increases each year, so does the notoriety and range of the Air Jordan brand, Hemming said.

“It is clothing, it is apparel, it is a lifestyle,” Hemming said.

And the demand for the brand is apparent. Across the five Sports Page stores he owns with Todd Thimesch, Hemming said their businesses fielded 500 to 1,000 phone calls last week leading up to the Air Jordan release. 

By the actual release date, there are typically three types of people who line up for the Air Jordans, said Hemming: the passionate collectors, the young athletes wanting to dazzle on the court and the hustlers.

“Unfortunately, I wish we could just give tickets to the first two, because the resell — I’m not saying I don’t resell, but I don’t buy shoes to resell,” Hemming said. “I buy shoes, because I am passionate about it.”

While the price tag on the Gamma Blues was just under $185 in town, Hemming said he has seen people turn around with their purchase in the past and sell the shoes for a marked-up price reaching $400 or more.

“We’ll have 50 percent of the line usually that will buy them to resell, some will do it right in front of our store,” he said.

Hemming owns hundreds of Air Jordans himself, with multiple color ways, but he said he is a traditionalist and prefers releases that stick to what Michael Jordan — “the greatest player ever” — wore on court.

“My dad talks about what he remembers about the death of JFK, and I remember what Michael Jordan wore in what game, what championship he won a shoe in,” Hemming said.

He calls himself a “sneakerhead” from 16, when Hemming started working for Sports Page so he could get a discount on Air Jordans. He said he typically buys “a pair to wear and a pair to stare” for his collection, which is showcased in displays at his home, along with a traveling Sports Page display that contains the original Air Jordans 1 through 28.

Martz is also a resident “sneakerhead” at Sports Page, with his collection at about 150 pairs. He said he much prefers buying online, but he is such a fan that his 6-month-old daughter has almost 25 pairs of infant-sized Air Jordans. 

For Ken Thomas, who was apart of the group that stayed overnight for the release, he started his collection in his early 20s. He said his mom had not been able to buy him a pair when he was young, so the chance to own multiple pairs was an addicting thought.

As he waited outside the store among friends Saturday morning, listening to rap music and joking with one another, Thomas said the past 12 hours were about free food, a good time and, of course, the sneakers.

“This is like a Christmas tradition for us,” he said. 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Seusical 261.JPG Summer Fun for Families: Seussical the Musical

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 93.jpg Pella Community Calendar of Events

    June 25 - Aug. 2

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Republicans.jpg Republicans to hold events
    The Marion County Republicans are holding events in Knoxville and Pella Saturday, July 26. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fawn.jpg Marion County photo contest winners

    Winners of the 2014 Marion County Photo Contest were announced at the Marion County Fair. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Military Retiree Appreciation Day Aug. 28 near Pella A military Retiree Appreciation Day will be held Thursday, Aug. 28 at the Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Retirees from all branches of the armed forces and their family members are eligible to attend. The event will run from

    July 22, 2014

  • Logo for story Nurses flourish at PRHC with Pathway to Excellence Pella Regional Health Center has again achieved Pathway to Excellence® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The Pathway to Excellence recognition is earned by health care organizations nationwide that create work environments wh

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lake Red Rock Programs for July 25-30 There’s always something happening at Lake Red Rock! Check out these upcoming programs: July 25 - “Thief in the Night” - 7:00 p.m. - Howell Station CampgroundProblem: A critter of the night consistently raises havoc with backyard bird feeders. Action

    July 22, 2014

  • USDA's NRCS wetland compliance listening session set for July 28 USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will host a listening session on Monday, July 28, to seek comments on proposed changes to wetland compliance provisions. The session will be at Ankeny Fire Station #1, 120 NW Ash Drive, from 1 p.m.

    July 22, 2014

  • Pella Runway Rehabilitation Project continues along The Pella City Council, during last week’s meeting, approved a resolution, following a public hearing on the matter, for plans, specifications, form of contract, receiving bids, making award of contract to TK Concrete, and issuing notice to proceed a

    July 22, 2014

  • Photo contest winners named Winners of the 2014 Marion County Photo Contest were announced last week at the Marion County Fair. The annual Contest is sponsored by Marion County Extension & Outreach and the Marion County Development commission (MCDC). This year nearly 300 photos

    July 22, 2014

Features
Facebook
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Obituaries