VICTOR, NY – The decision to open The Plug, a new clothing and footwear store in the Eastview Mall, came in a roundabout way for owner Rich Hunley.
Hunley worked at Foot Locker before being promoted to district manager for shoe and clothing retailer DTLR, overseeing nine of its locations. After approaching the founder of The Plug, based in Pennsylvania, he learned that they both had a mutual friend in Hunley’s business partner at Foot Locker.
“So the three of us met and did this business,” he said.
According to Hunley, who has 15 years of experience in the retail shoe business, The Plug offers locally made clothing and footwear that customers can usually only buy online.
“The best comparison to who we are is you don’t have to wait two weeks to get the shoes,” he said. “If you go through [online marketplace] StockX, there is usually a seven to 10 day window to see the shoes. You have to wait two weeks to get the shoe. “
But not at The Plug, which has a selection of brands not available at major retailers, like the Adidas Yeezy shoes or the retro Air Jordan sneakers, which, as Hunley pointed out, are “not available at normal retailers. “.
In addition to offering several exclusive shoe brands, the store is offering customization options through Rochester-based Remix Custom Kicks LLC and will also use a keymaster arcade machine to give customers the chance to win a pair of shoes. The store will launch a dry-cleaning option for shoes starting December 18, when the store officially opens, which will also include a PlayStation 5 giveaway. There will also be a groundbreaking ceremony at 10am.
The Plug is believed to be the first minority-owned retailer in Eastview Mall. “There haven’t been many other businesses like this in the store. I’m proud of this and the service we provide here,” Hunley said, citing this service as one of his top priorities. .
“It’s definitely my priority, you have to bring your A game,” he said. “You can’t make them feel that they don’t belong. You have to make them feel welcome.”
According to Eastview CEO Mike Kauffman, “We’re obviously delighted to have Rickey here. This concept has proven itself across the country. The store looks great and they have been great operators. “
While the grand opening is still a few weeks away, the store has been open since Black Friday and has remained busy.
“We were rocking,” Hunley said of the Nov. 26 opening. And although the store staff is small in size, with him and a part-time worker, he has managed to get a lot of help from “family and friends who come in, help.”
“A lot of people were excited, a lot of people thanked us because they no longer had to buy the product we were selling online,” he added on the occasion of the opening of Black Friday.
Hunley said the excitement has yet to abate, with many positive reviews from customers saying they would happily return, with the store’s Instagram often marking customers happy with their latest purchase.
Hunley added that The Plug has the advantage of easily having five times the storage space of many consignment-type stores.
“Most of the sneaker stores like this are sort of crowded. They’re small,” Hunley said, adding that the average consignment store is around 800 to 1,200 square feet, with The Plug’s original store. in Pennsylvania at 600 square feet. At Eastview, he said, “We have a real warehouse and 3,000 square feet of space, with an overflow for additional inventory. “
This space makes it easier to cultivate a less crowded and warmer atmosphere.
“The general atmosphere of the store literally makes people smile, so we’re just trying to keep that energy going,” Hunley said.