We have told this story a million times before. That I and Peter started this out of pure passion for sneakers. On how we started in 1999 (yes we are that old), and how we used to go to New York to buy sneakers that could not be found in Europe. And that we used to carry them back in huge black bags and sell them in our store.
And on how the sneaker scene has changed since then.
Over the years, the one thing that we are most happy about from our 16 years in the business is all the great people we have gotten to know. Actually we are very grateful for the not so great people too, you make our lives more interesting.
Back in 2004 on one of our trips to New York, we had heard about this store that was sitting on stock of OG styles from the 90’s. A store with almost 100 years on their neck. A store where rappers went out of their way to find. But it was in New Jersey. As a sneaker tourist from Sweden, New Jersey was not really on the map. Sure, we had gone to some run down mall in Secaucus New Jersey a few times just because they had no Sales tax there, as New York still at Sales Tax on all sneakers. But this store was in Teaneck, New Jersey.
But the chance of finding some classic OG styles form the 90’s was irresistible to us, so we jumped on the bus from Port Authority and ended up walking the last Mile or so.
We found Packer Shoes close to a school and in an area that felt more residential than commercial. Not your average sneaker store set-up. We were expecting to find a corner shop sport-store with a grumpy old man behind the desk. Your classic mom and pop store felling. But upon entering we were greeted by this guy around our age. And the store was filled with sneakers for sure, but all new styles that we really could have found on Manhattan, and possibly even in Seacacus. A couple of the kids from the school across the street was in the store looking at the latest releases.
“Hey guys, how are you doing?”
“Ehum – yeah, hi.. We are not sure we are in the right place. Is this Packer Shoes?”
“Yup, this is the right place.”
“But we expected to find all kinds of OG sneakers from the 90’s here.”
“Naw guys, sorry – we have sold out of all of that.”
The kids from the school walks out.
“Hey, guys. Sorry about that. I saw the shoes you are wearing and I know you are not the average hype customer who just wants the latest. I just had to say we are sold out of all the good stuff in front of the kids. They just want to buy it to make a quick buck on Ebay. What size are you, and what are you looking for?”
After stating our sizes Mike locked the door to the store, told us to wait a minute and went into the back. He came back with a few true gems that would have killed Ebay today. He was sitting on og’s of The Pumps, Kamikazes, Questions, Jordans, Flights, Forces, Runners and Crosstrainers. He excused himself and said that he really did not have much left because Fat Joe came through just a couple of days ago and cleaned him out.
We spent some time talking about sneakers, Sweden, sneakers, USA, sneakers and sneakers.
A few years later. In 2008, Reebok summoned what they considered to be the 20 best sneaker doors in the world to their headquarters in Boston. Something me and Peter of course were very proud of, to be one of those stores. It was days filled with meetings with the likes of Dominique, Dee Brown and such. The idea was to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Reebok The Pump by letting these 20 doors re-create their own version.
When you get people from 20 truly great stores from across the world together in a room you realize how different and alike we all are at the same time. And you are more bound to get drawn to the people that you connect with. And looking back at that time, and now seeing all the great ways all these people have found ways to develop themselves and work together over the years is amazing.
Because that is what it comes down to. People. Passion. Passion for what you do. And characters.
Mike Packer is one of those characters that has really worked with his passion for this. Coming from the over 100 years of heritage and experience that Mike comes from, and to be able to re-vamp Packer Shoes. Mike is not striving to be relevant to today’s sneaker game. He just want to do good products with a good story. Products that respects the past, lives in the now and understands the future. After 100 years in the business, Packer Shoes is still in it for the passion. And Mike is one of the more important personalities in this game, even though he would probably not admit that himself.
Over the years we have always kept in touch with Mike. As both Packer Shoes and Sneakersnstuff has grown we have gotten to know each others teams. The passion for the industry is the common factor. And dinner with Mike is now always on the agenda when we go to New York. Or to hang out at any of the Trade Shows. We share ideas, we try to give valid input in order to help each other to keep growing. Sure, you could say we are competitors. But there are plenty of competitors out there, and we like to consider Mike a friend rather than a competitor. And every time we get hang out it ends up with “it would be a lot of fun to work on something together”.
It started as a small idea. Let’s make a couple of shoes with Reebok, to try tor communicate our shared passion for basketball and for sneakers. Let’s show that two competitors can come together and share. And I love how Mike took that idea and ran with it.
“Let’s do more!”
Let’s get more brands involved. If we can work together, so should they be able to do.
And here we are one year later. We really cannot take all credit. The crew at Reebok, Mitchell&Ness, Stance Socks, Jason Markk has all shown their true colors and passion in supporting us through out this project. It is usually not easy to work on collaborative products with this many parties involved. But for this project it has been more than smooth. The ideas that everyone contributed with has all been taken into count, and been evaluated. And we are extremely happy with the outcome.
Mike – We are so proud to call you a friend. And to have been able to do this with you and your team has been so much fun. Thank you for always sharing and caring.
And yes, TOKEN38.COM is now live!