Sneaker Feature: Jawns on Fire opens in Linglestown with a huge selection of designer sneakers
A subculture of shoppers – known as “sneakerheads” – have admired the legendary athletic shoe since the boom in basketball and hip-hop culture in the early 1980s.
While basketball legend Michael Jordan represents the rise of sneaker fashion, most shoes bought by sneakerheads are rarely worn. These fanatics research, buy, collect and resell high-end sneakers based on style, brand and exclusivity.
A local sneakerhead, Brian Dein, uses his three decades of retail experience to turn his childhood hobby into a small business.
“I’ve always been fascinated by sneakers and looking for a change of pace from my corporate job,” he said. “I wanted to start a business that would be useful, fun and inspiring for others and my family.”
Jawns on Fire, located on Linglestown Road in Susquehanna Township, sells sneakers, streetwear and more for men, women and kids. A big-screen TV plays hip-hop music throughout the store, inviting people inside. In-store kiosks and iPads allow shoppers to scroll through a wide selection of over 700 new and gently used sneakers.
The walls are filled with floor-to-ceiling displays, displaying designers from Air Jordans to Yeezys, Nike and more. Each shoe has a QR code that customers can scan with their smartphone to see description, price and size availability. Buyers can buy, sell or trade sneakers with a guarantee of authenticity.
“We understand the investment our customers make in our selections,” Dein said. “We encourage everyone, regardless of age, to take care of their shoes and trade them in for a new pair later.”
Dein’s first pair of high-end sneakers, the OG Jordans, are displayed in a display case at the front of the store as a reminder of his “jawn” trip to Philadelphia.
“When I was 10, the first Air Jordan sneakers came out, and I remember visiting a store in Philadelphia for three weeks looking at them,” he said. “My parents couldn’t afford them but told me if I worked hard to do an honor role I could have them. These sneakers are now the centerpiece of this store and how I found my style.
Dein’s story continues with customers like Aiden Harman, a Harrisburg resident who visited the store for months, researching the right pair before making a purchase.
“I’ve been coming to the store since they opened in August to check out their inventory and learn about the shoe culture,” Harman said. “It’s hard to find my shoe size in other stores, so I finally pulled the trigger and bought my first pair.”
Unlike many shoe stores, Jawns on Fire offers sizes for men, women and children from 2C to 18 for men. When browsing online or in person, customers can search their size to see available inventory and size conversions for unisex options.
Dein and his associates, affectionately referred to as “Jawn-Noisseurs”, pride themselves on fostering an inclusive environment where new and old sneakerheads alike can get to know each other and form emotional connections. Their #BeJawn culture has welcomed over 3,000 customers to their store with a 33% customer return rate.
In addition to sneakers, the store also sells clothing from popular brands such as Anti Social Club, Vlone and Essentials. Additionally, Jawns on Fire supports local vendors by providing a space for them to sell merchandise like wood art, candles, custom rugs and more. In the coming months, Dein plans to expand its clothing selection and offer special holiday offers, such as Christmas layaway options.
“I took the best of the sneakerhead world, my retail experience and added some pixie dust to differentiate our brand from others,” Dein said. “Since opening our doors, we’ve been able to meet and help our local community find and find designers that weren’t available before, and it feels good.”
Jawns on Fire is located at 2302 Linglestown Rd. (Blue Mountain Commons), Harrisburg (Susquehanna Township). For more information, visit www.jawnsonfire.comtheir Facebook and Instagram page at @jawns.on.fire.
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