Daily Egyptian

Sneakers for cheaper: SIU alumnus opens high-end shoe store with focus on affordability

Trevondo+Crockett%2C+of+East+St.+Louis%2C+poses+for+a+portrait+among+his+merchandise+Friday%2C+Sept.+29%2C+2017+at+his+store+%22Kickaholics%22+on+the+Carbondale+Strip.+%22When+I+was+younger%2C+I+wanted+shoes+that+looked+good%2C%22+Crockett+said.+%22Even+though+I+wasn%27t+able+to+get+them+I+still+knew+everything+I+could+about+them.%22+Crockett%2C+a+SIU+Class+of+2014+alumni%2C+is+the+owner+of+Kickaholics%2C+a+new+collector%27s+shoe+store+located+on+the+Carbondale+Strip.+%28Brian+Mu%C3%B1oz+%7C+%40BrianMMunoz%29
Trevondo Crockett, of East St. Louis, poses for a portrait among his merchandise Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 at his store

Trevondo Crockett, of East St. Louis, poses for a portrait among his merchandise Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 at his store "Kickaholics" on the Carbondale Strip. "When I was younger, I wanted shoes that looked good," Crockett said. "Even though I wasn't able to get them I still knew everything I could about them." Crockett, a SIU Class of 2014 alumni, is the owner of Kickaholics, a new collector's shoe store located on the Carbondale Strip. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Mary Newman | @MaryNewmanDE

Mary Newman | @MaryNewmanDE

Trevondo Crockett, of East St. Louis, poses for a portrait among his merchandise Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 at his store "Kickaholics" on the Carbondale Strip. "When I was younger, I wanted shoes that looked good," Crockett said. "Even though I wasn't able to get them I still knew everything I could about them." Crockett, a SIU Class of 2014 alumni, is the owner of Kickaholics, a new collector's shoe store located on the Carbondale Strip. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Tierra Carpenter

One SIU alumnus is working to make Carbondale more fashionable through a high-end shoe store on Illinois Avenue.

East St. Louis-native Trevondo Crockett, the 27-year-old owner of Kickaholics, opened the storefront in August after selling online for nearly a year.

He said student accessibility to his store and lower prices set it apart from other fashion boutiques in the area.

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“I’m the closest [to campus],” Crockett said. “I may not be as developed yet, but that will come with time.”

Crockett, who graduated from SIU in 2014, said he wanted to open the store because when he was a student there weren’t many options for shoe-lovers like himself.

“A lot of people would end up having to travel to Chicago or St. Louis,” Crockett said. “So I knew it was something that would do well here and give students and local residents the opportunity to shop.”

Although he studied automotive technology, Crockett said it was always his dream to own a shoe store.

After he graduated, Crockett moved to Chicago to work for a company called Ally Financial, where he still serves as a billing and collections analyst from home.

He said his time in Chicago opened his eyes to the opportunities in the shoe industry.

“I had no idea there were conventions and things like that,” Crockett said. “There were more stores in the Chicago area, so I was able to build relationships with people and see how other stores were operated.”

Crockett said he would work his corporate job during the day and turn his attention to shoes at night. He decided to turn his hobby into a business when other people started coming to him for help with starting their own shoe businesses, he said.

He said his wife was another source of motivation.

“She encouraged me to do it on my own and just see how it would be, seeing that so many people were interested in me helping them with their business,” Crockett said.

In December 2016, the Kickaholics website was officially launched.

The website, which Crockett said has grossed about $100,000 in online sales, had unexpected success. He attributed that success to the demand for the products he sells and his prices.

“That brings a lot of interest and keeps people coming back,” Crockett said.

He said this is the same model by which he runs the storefront.

“My main thing is if I want to be successful I want to have a lower price than the competitor, same shoe, same quality, but gain interest from customers by coming in seeing this same product that other people have for a better price,” Crockett said.

Colton Newlin, a sophomore from Marion studying psychology, said prices are a big reason he shops at Kickaholics.

“Let’s say Jordan’s drop at Finish Line and you can’t get them, he might have them and you can pay just around retail price for them, which I think is fantastic,” Newlin said.

Crockett said people also like his store because of the “comfortable” atmosphere.

“It’s not set up in a way where you’re pressured to buy something,” Crockett said. “It’s a place where people would come to hang even if they aren’t purchasing anything, which I don’t have a problem with.”

Although Kickaholics primarily sells shoes, Crockett said he’s looking to bring more clothes into the store.

He sells local clothing brands already, including his own Kickaholics line and One Race, a shirt line created by SIU students Marquez Scoggin and Joshua Bowens to promote diversity and equality.

Bowens, a junior from Chicago studying political science who also works at the store, said its relaxed nature draws people in.

“I loved the atmosphere I received when I [first] walked in the store,” Bowens said. “It was like no other store in the area.”

Crockett said business has been better than expected so far, and he expects it to pick up throughout the year.

“It’s always an assumption that the first year is going to be bad for most new businesses,” he said. “I think that with some of the plans that I have and things I’m developing, that won’t be the case for me.”

Crockett said he doesn’t know how long he himself will stay in Carbondale, but he wants Kickaholics to remain a part of the community.

“I hope to grow to the point where I don’t have to be here and I can expand and open a store somewhere else,” Crockett said. “My goal is to have Kickaholics be a shoe store at different college campuses.”

He said ultimately, his store is for the students.

“I’m bringing something to Carbondale that I wish was here when I was here,” Crockett said.

Tierra Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] or @tierramc_.

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