It’s Friday in Richmond. Quarter to 11, at 202 W. Broad St., there’s a group of men gathering on the sidewalk. They’ve got bags in hand, or shoeboxes under their arms. They’re hoping some of their shoes, shirts, and hoodies might lead to a payout from Round Two’s Richmond store.
Inside, Round Two store manager Austin King has been setting up for the day. He’s lined the shelves from top to bottom with tees, jackets, jerseys, hats and sneakers from Yeezy, Supreme, Stone Island, BAPE, and Guess. Some of the items come from the guys out front, others were thrift store treasure.
“That’s what we call heat,” King said. “It’s stuff we’re excited to buy as much as we want to sell.”
Originally printed in RVA #32 Spring 2018, you can check out the issue HERE or pick it up around Richmond now.
The store counter stays busy, with men steadily coming in to bring mountains of shoeboxes or sometimes a single sweater. It’s a delicate dance that’s often personal. The men on both sides of the counter see their “hypebeast” finds as art. As consumers and buyers, they determine the value of the items, not the manufacturer.
“The store attracts anyone and everyone,“ said Haile Cano, who manages the website and store operations in Richmond.
King and Cano know most of the regulars by first name. Some come in daily, others are new. Cano shared a story about a grandmother who came to the store to buy a pair of Jordans for her grandson.
“She copped some for herself,” he said. “She left looking at her feet and smiling.”
Cano has been with Round 2 since 2013 and has watched the company and brand grow. He stepped in to help founder Chris Russow, a high school friend. He’s often behind the counter with Austin receiving new items.
“I always start by asking people what they’re looking for in an item,” he said. “Condition is important, but also… what is a customer willing to pay for a specific item? They control the resale value of products.”
King chimed in with one big sale, saying, “I once sold a brand new pair of Red October Yeezys for $4,400.”
King also recalled a man who drove from Pittsburgh with 86 pairs of shoes. He took home around $10,000 that day. Other coveted items are shipped biweekly from LA and New York, where Round Two has second and third locations. The New York store just opened in fall 2017.
“Being in major cities for the brand is super important,” King said. “They are all hubs for fashion in the world.” Compared to other store locations, King says the “east coast is more fixated on sneakers.” In LA, you’ll find more apparel and high fashion items.
Co-owners Sean Wotherspoon, Chris Russow, and Luke Fracher are driving the brand forward all over the country. They leverage the power of Instagram and Youtube to promote the lifestyle and culture of sneakerheads, thrift fanatics, and Supreme collectors. Wotherspoon has collaborated with Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Guess for special collections and sneaker releases.
The launch of Wotherspoon’s Nike collaboration caused a shutdown of Cary Street last November. He launched his Nike Air Max 1/97 at Need Supply Co., where he got his own sneaker fix before opening Round Two. Viral videos showed a police car swarmed by hundreds of hopeful buyers. Shoes from that limited release of a few hundred sell for more than $1000 on online resale markets.
With a physical presence in LA, Round Two has attracted A-listers like ASAP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Kendall Jenner, and ASAP Ferg. Richmond remains an important part of the brand’s roots, though. “Everyone has worked in the Richmond store at one point,” King said.
In Richmond, Round Two has a barbershop vibe. Customers ranging from preteen to middle age come in to not only cop the latest releases and vintage finds, but to linger, talk, and connect. It’s a second home for some.
“This city has culture that needed a hub for people to connect to all of this stuff,” King said. “I’m all about making relationships with people that last.” Wotherspoon and the Round Two team are working on their own apparel line. Expect it to hit stores and the web this year.
Photos By: Round Two RVA