May 24, 2016

360 Q&A: Sitting at the Cool Table With Brooklyn’s New Sneaker Store Lunchroom NYC

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Three entrepreneurial BK-bred sneakerheads are ready to take over the game.

The good ol’ days of sitting at the lunchroom table and shooting the breeze with the homies will forever bring on a few nostalgic memories. Actually, that good ol’ feeling inspired three Brooklyn-bred sneakerheads to bring back the vibe in a really cool way — with a new sneaker store in Brooklyn!

At Lunchroom NYC — cool name, right? — you’ll get more than the average shop-and-go sneaker experience. With three certified dudes running things that know a few things about kicks, a cool spot located in one NYC’s most booming boroughs, and an in-house sneaker cleaning service that’s the first of its kind, we’re sure the sky’s the limit to how this innovative business model can come to fruition. All they need is your help to make it happen.

We chopped it up with the guys to see what the Lunchroom wave was all about, and ended up getting the inside info on how it all got started, why Brooklyn plays a huge part in the brand dynamic, and even some very helpful tips on keeping your kicks clean. Be sure to check out their GoFundMe me page after checking out our exclusive 360 Q&A below with the coolest kids at the table:

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn
(L to R: Lunchroom NYC founders Erick Vilson, Cory Giles, and C.J. Diggs)

DUNK360: Where did the love for sneakers begin for each of you?
C.J. Diggs: My love for sneakers began at a young age when I received a pair of the [Air] Jordan Cement 3s. From that moment on, I would save my allowances to buy the latest kicks that were out at that time.

Cory Giles: I developed my love at a very young age due to the influence of my older cousin Taryn who was a big sneakerhead — Jordans, Air Maxs, Air Forces, you name it! Her kick game was strong and it made me stay on top of my own.

Erick Vilson: My love for sneakers developed through sports. I’ve been a huge sports fan since childhood, so I was always into big athlete signature models like Jordans, Bo Jacksons, Griffeys, Pennys and more.

“…Brooklyn was the perfect place to center our business. It’s a borough that represents hard work, dreams, and dedication. Those are three things Lunchroom strongly embodies.”

— Cory Giles, Lunchroom NYC

What inspired the crew to decide on “Lunchroom” as the official store name?
CG: We chose the name Lunchroom because, the Lunchroom is the foundation of every school. It’s a place where cultures come together to speak about the latest in fashion, music, pop culture and sneakers. We want Lunchroom to serve the same purpose, as people from all walks of life come to find sneakers in our store that match their passion.

Give us a few details on how Lunchroom will operate?
CG: The business will operate in various ways. Physically, we’ll have the storefront, where customers can come in and purchase sneakers, accessories and sneaker cleaning services. We’ll take orders over the phone as well. Digitally, we’ll sell our products on our site, expanding our brand to a wider audience. All in all, we want to build genuine relationships with our customers, ensuring they’ll receive the best customer service ever. To keep our audience updated on the latest with Lunchroom, we’ll be producing a weekly newsletter, establishing our VIP customer rewards program, and updating our social media accounts daily.

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn
Cory Giles, 1/3 of Lunchroom NYC

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn
Erick Vilson, 1/3 of Lunchroom NYC

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn
C.J. Diggs, 1/3 of Lunchroom NYC

One of the most interesting aspects about the shop is the in-store sneaker cleaning service. Describe that for us.
CG: Being a sneakerhead has its good and bad moments. Prime example: trying to remove a stain or skid mark on your favorite pair of sneakers and it won’t come off [Laughs]. With our in-house sneaker cleaning service, customers will be able to get their sneakers deeply cleaned and deodorized, laces included. For convenience, we’ll offer same day service! Growing up in the Tri-State area, there hasn’t been a sneaker store that provides this service to customers — that is, until now. We’ll be the first to offer this high quality service to the sneaker community in such an important sneaker market.

How important does being in Brooklyn play into the shop dynamic?
CG: Being in Brooklyn is special. Sneaker enthusiasts are found everywhere, but due to its rich history and the major changes that’s going on [in the area], Brooklyn was the perfect place to center our business. It’s a borough that represents hard work, dreams, and dedication. Those are three things Lunchroom strongly embodies. So many great people have come from this place and we want to help nurture upcoming generations on their road to greatness. No matter where you go, everyone has heard of Brooklyn. We have films, sports teams, pop culture icons, and pretty soon Lunchroom.

What are your personal top 5 sneakers ever?
Cory: AJ Flint 13s, AI Questions (Red Toe), AJ Black Cement 3s, Adidas Crazy 8, ASICS Gel 3s.
C.J.: Air Max 1s “Flamingo Pack”, Jordan Stealth 10s, Silver Air Max 97s, Bathing APE Roadstas, Vans Half Cabs.
Erick: Air Jordan 3 Black Cement, Air Jordan 12 Playoffs, Metallic Gold Air Max 97, Air Classic BW Black/Persian Violet, and Air Max 95 Neon.

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn

Why is a shop like Lunchroom important to the sneaker culture as a whole right now?
CG: As the founders of Lunchroom, we all have a deep passion for the sneaker culture and have been collecting for well over 15 years. Aside from the passion and drive for this culture, we all have a promotion and marketing background which is crucial to the sneaker community. We want to help the culture grow. We believe you have to understand the product and the consumer you’re marketing to in order to provide the best product. All of our employees will be equipped with sneaker brand knowledge and quality customer service skills.

If you could give some sneaker swag to any athlete, who would it be and why?
CG: Cristiano Ronaldo. We’d want to show our appreciation for his extensive charity work. Lunchroom believes in giving back to your community and doing for others who are in need.

What are the plans and expectations for Lunchroom moving forward into the future?
CG: We plan to build a reputable brand that consumers worldwide can depend on, interact with and converse about. Lunchroom will be a household name in the near future with plans to expand in neighboring markets such as New Jersey and Washington D.C. We also want to be known for our philanthropy and community outreach efforts.

Give us 5 of your best tips on proper sneaker care for all the DUNK360 readers out there.
CG:I’ll break it down like this:

1. Always let your shoes air out at least 12-24 hours before putting them back in the box.
2. Don’t ever use products containing bleach for long term care.
3. Wipe all stains and dust from shoes shortly after removing, to sustain longevity. Invest in shoe wipes and take advantage of water and stain repellent products that are available in stores.
4. Be mindful of the jeans and sneaker combo you choose on any given day — the dye from the jeans can rub off onto the shoes, making it difficult to clean.
5. Don’t use abrasive clothes or tools when cleaning you shoes. They can damage the surface of the sneakers depending on the materials.

Lunchroom NYC Sneaker Store in Brooklyn

To keep up with the Lunchroom NYC movement, follow them at @LunchroomNYC across all social media outlets. Go show support by checking out the official Lunchroom GoFundMe Crowdfunding campaign, which ends on June 9, 2016.

All images provided by Lunchroom NYC

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