The owner of New Orleans’ only Black-owned sneaker shop is planning to expand to the city’s historic French Quarter.
Lawrence Wilright is the owner of Peddlers Ave in Kenner – a suburb outside of Crescent City near the airport. What started out as a hustle inspired by his love for sneakers since he was a kid turned into a full business by 2010.
But as Wilright’s clientele and inventory increased, so did the need for a bigger space. He opened the brick-and-mortar in 2017.
“We’re known in the city as a place that has everything exclusive under one roof,” he tells Travel Noire. “From new releases, old releases, to items that are not even released yet.”
In a city where a majority of the population is Black, less than 10 percent of businesses are Black-owned, according to U.S. Census data. Even worse, Wilright says he can count on one hand how many Black-owned businesses are in the city’s French Quarter. He’s trying to change that.
Answering The Demand
Peddlers Ave is about 20 minutes away from the city with moderate traffic, but Wilright says that’s a bit of a hike for New Orleanians.
“I have a lot of customers that live in New Orleans or further, and they really don’t like traveling to Kenner,” he says jokingly. “If you know anything about the people in our city, they’re locals that don’t like leaving New Orleans. Many people have been telling me how they can’t wait for me to come to New Orleans. They’ve been asking, so I’m going.”
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Wilright has turned a dream he’s had from age ten into a reality by following his heart and not giving up.
“Reselling has been an industry that you learn on the fly. It’s so unorthodox and untapped. You learn as you go,” he says.
As he continues to strive higher, he recognizes the city’s younger generation is watching and hopes his journey keeps them focused.
“There’s a lot of kids that come up to me, and they’re like, ‘I want to do this.’ I recognize that this is showing them another way. They’ve seen it all here, but not a lot of them have seen people selling shoes for a living.”
Be sure to follow Peddlers Ave on Instagram.
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