Marcus Jordan Talks TROPHY ROOM Sneaker Shop, Convincing MJ to Fund His Dream

Joon Lee@iamjoonleeStaff WriterOctober 27, 2017

Photo by Oruny Choi

The first time he asked the question, the answer was no.

Marcus Jordan wanted to open a sneaker boutique. Five years ago after ending his basketball career at the University of Central Florida, Jordan looked around his adopted home of Orlando and saw a gap in the market. For all of the sneaker stores in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, the city that houses Disney World had none. Jordan wanted to change that, so he went to his dad to pitch the idea and get some of the funding.

"No," Michael told him. "You've never run a store before. You've never been in business before. Finish school first."

He needed a plan, so he decided to partner up with James Whitner, the owner of boutiques such as Social Status and Atlanta's A Ma Maniere. Whitner taught Jordan the ropes of the business, so he came back to his Hall of Fame father, experience and a concrete vision in hand.

"There are so many places that offer unique items, but we wanted to provide an experience," Marcus says. "We want to walk people through the legacy of Jordan Brand, my father's history while also telling our side of things."

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 18: Marcus Jordan #5 of the Central Florida Knights defends as Durand Scott #1 of the Miami Hurricanes attempts to inbound the ball on December 18, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Knights defeated the Hurric
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The store centers around an enormous trophy case that houses every Jordan, custom-made with the Trophy Room color scheme, black, gray and gold. Childhood photos line the wall, everything from Marcus sitting in Michael's trophy room (which also housed Marcus' youth trophies), to photos of him and his brother, Jeffrey, sitting together as babies. A glass case in the middle contains some of Marcus's favorite Jordans, in addition to an MJ-signed jersey and other memorabilia.

"The first thing that came to mind was the trophy room in our house growing up and how that was a spot that everyone wanted to hang out in," Marcus says. "It became a room where we wanted to celebrate all of our holidays—we put our Christmas tree in there. That feeling I got thinking about our trophy room growing up, it was a feeling I wanted to bring to the consumer and the sneaker culture here in Orlando."

Marcus's love for sneakers developed at an early age. His first sneaker was the Jordan 5, and from there, a passion for kicks continued to grow.

the TROPHY ROOM Jordan 17
the TROPHY ROOM Jordan 17Photo by Oruny Choi

"We would always come home and there would always be a new box," Marcus says. "The excitement and energy of opening a new sneaker box was always in me from an early age. When the opportunity came for me to do this store, it was a no-brainer."

And with the store, located at Disney Springs in Orlando, has come the opportunity to release Trophy Room exclusives. On October 28, the store is releasing the Trophy Room Jordan 17. This is only the start for Jordan, though. The eventual goal is to open eight to ten stores, both domestically and internationally.

"My dad's reaction to all of this was that he was proud and excited, but leading up to it, we had a lot of competitive jokes," Marcus says. "He likes to be realistic in terms of projections. He never lets me get full of myself."

TROPHY ROOM Jordan 17
TROPHY ROOM Jordan 17Photo by Oruny Choi

Now a year into the business, Jordan said he's learned a lot from running his own shop, interacting with customers and trying to differentiate himself from the rest of the market. Sure he's had celebrities pop into the store—everyone from DJ Khaled to Fat Joe to Bow Wow to His Airness himself—but to Jordan, it's only just the beginning.

"I still look to my friends and be like, ‘We've got a store at Disney World,'" Marcus says. "It's a huge accomplishment, and it won't be anything I forget."

"I want to have a solid boutique business. I don't want to franchise and I am very hands-on. This is my baby, and I want to play a role in every location we open."

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