Jerri Joos believes every kid deserves to feel cool.
And she and her family are doing their part to accomplish this goal — through sneakers.
“Sneakers are really important to kids,” she said from inside the family’s East Patchogue store, Court Side Kickz, which opened on South Country Road and Dunton Avenue in October. “Our sneakers are trade-ins, but that enables the moms and the single moms to afford a cool pair of sneakers.”
The idea came during a day last summer, when her youngest son, Justin, now 17, wanted a lift to yet another trade-in show, where collectors go to buy fresh new sneakers or swap their own with others.
It was a nice day outside, and instead of trekking yet again to Nassau County, Jerri Joos suggested Justin and his friends set up their own trade-in show right here, “because there’s nothing around here.”
“This shop was open and we looked at it and quickly realized it was too small for a show,” she said.
But the space was just right for a store.
She now runs Court Side Kickz with her two sons and daughter.
What started as a table with nine pairs of sneakers has quickly swelled into a full retail establishment with well over 200 pairs, along with locally made clothing brands.
Joos said the shop will purchase or accept sneakers that are considered a 9 or 10, condition-wise, for cash or store credit. Then, she’ll clean them intensely, a process that can take up to three hours, to the point where it’s barely noticeable the sneakers aren’t new. She’ll also clean sneakers for a fee, depending on their condition.
Used sneakers run from about $60 to $130 a pair at Court Side Kickz. That’s compared with well over $200 for a pair of Nike Lebron James, for example.
The Joos family also hopes to start donating sneakers that might not make the cut for the Court Side Kickz shelves to Lighthouse Mission, she said.
So, why shouldn’t parents just say “no” to kids who ask for expensive sneakers?
“You don’t want your kids to stick out,” she said. “There’s always something in school that everybody has, maybe backpacks. You don’t want your kids to feel less-than. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is.
Joos remembers this feeling well.
“I come from a family of eight, so yeah, I do remember how that was,” she said. “That’s why it’s important for me to try to get on my feet and help the community, because I was that kid. For me it was pea coats. I wanted one so bad, and I just couldn’t get it, coming from such a big family. But all the cool kids in school had a pea coat.”
“So that’s what we’re all about, figuring out how to help the community afford to be cool.”
Photo: Used sneakers at Court Side Kickz come at a discount compared to new pairs. (Credit: Michael White)