House of Soles in downtown East Lansing is now open for business at 534 east Grand River Ave.
“House of Souls, it's a great place for people to just come in," said Store Assistant Manager Liam Car. "We have a lot of friends from high school people we know that are college friends, family, they just come in and kick it, you know, it's a good spot to buy shoes. Just that meet and greet people as well.”
While this location might be new, they're no stranger to the community.
“We've been around for a year and a half in the Okemos area," said Store Manager Drew Roberts. "We're just trying to expand to you know, connect to the college kids a little more. We really love Michigan State a lot.”
At just 16 years old, Haslett High School football and basketball players Lennie and Lonnie Smith opened House of Soles in Okemos in 2020 with the goal of providing a safe space to sell and shop for shoes.
“We kind of noticed that for a lot of people, it was an unsafe thing to do in some places, and we just want to create a safe environment for it and promote young entrepreneurs, not just ourselves, but other people who are trying to sell shoes to us and buy shoes from us," Car said.
They decided to move their business to downtown East Lansing.
“Our whole goal was to get to the college kids," Roberts said. "So in order to do that, we had to come out here. I mean, you want to make the most money you can that's the best way to do is to connect to the college kids.”
For a lot of the workers, including Car and Roberts, they're excited to be working in their college town.
"Being from this area is really nice," Car said. "It makes me very excited to be here because it was always my dream to go to MSU walking around here when I was younger.”
On top of promoting the safe selling and buying of shoes, they also promote young entrepreneurship with everyone working in the store being under the age of 23.
“We are very young," Roberts said. "I feel like that's what East Lansing, you know, can can be in a few years. It is a lot. It can be tougher sometimes just because we're so young with, you know, less experience than most, but you know, we're able to overcome that with more experience.”
With the store now open, they're working on a seating and hangout area for students to come out, get to know each other and connect with their love for MSU and shoes.
“All is welcome. You know, your businesses is welcome, your greetings are welcome. We'd love to just talk to you about shoes, life, whatever," Car said. "Go green!”
House of Soles is open Monday through Saturday noon to 6 p.m.
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