Upscale sneaker store on the Las Vegas Strip has a local flavor
Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile stores attract many tourists from the Strip.
But there is one store inside the mall – other than the “Welcome to Las Vegas” stores, of course – that has a quintessentially local feel to it.
It’s called Correct Merch, a high-end sneaker and specialty clothing store that opened in June.
The store is owned by former Bishop Gorman and Green Valley High School basketball player Dom Pontoni.
Rashad Muhammad, also a former Bishop Gorman and brother of former NBA player Shabazz Muhammad, is the vice president of Correct Merch.
The friends, who met while attending Catholic High School in Las Vegas a decade ago, say the brick-and-mortar business has performed well in its first two months of existence. .
The storefront is an attempt to branch out from what has been a successful online concept. In a near-perfect business for the social media world, Correct Merch has over 30,000 followers on Instagram, allowing it to act essentially as its own advertising agency.
“Even when we were in Gorman, we always liked the clothes and the shoes,” Pontoni said. “We’ve been selling online since 2017 and we’ve been successful, but, during COVID, the business really took off. I don’t know if it was the stimulus checks or what, but people were buying and we saw an opportunity. “
The boutique, the former home of The Walking Company shoe store, is small, but it’s a sneaker-lover’s paradise.
Rows of some of the most coveted basketball sneakers and shoes on the planet are on display, a list that includes many editions of the popular brands Air Jordan and Adidas Yeezy, some with prices over $ 1,000 for a pair.
The presentation shoes are wrapped in plastic, not out of fear of the delta variant spreading, but because no one wants shoes like these to collect dust or spill anything on them.
Correct also sells clothing, including high-end streetwear t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets. The most expensive item of clothing in the store is a Vlone jacket with a price tag of $ 1,500.
“The product sells itself,” Pontoni said. “The hardest part is getting the inventory. It’s all about networking. We know guys that we don’t even know how they get stuff, but they get it. In our network, I would say there are three or four prominent people. There are others that we get maybe five pairs of shoes from.
Always a fan of shoes and coat racks, Pontoni decided to go head first into the shoe business after leaving Benedictine University in Mesa, Arizona, in 2017.
The 6-foot-4 Pontoni had hoped to continue his basketball career as a college shooting guard, but it didn’t work out, he said.
Instead, he started traveling to Los Angeles every week to line up at sneaker stores for new product releases. While there, Pontoni said he would sleep in his car Tuesday through Thursday. This is after working weekends in a call center.
“I met a lot of connections in LA,” Pontoni said. “I was there every week for a while, and LA is kind of the mecca for what I did. I would wait in the first come, first serve lines at Supreme LA, and I was making a lot of money (selling what he bought).
Pontoni said he left the call center position in 2018. With a network of suppliers and the relationships born from the knowledge of Rashad and Shabazz Muhammad, Pontoni made the decision to devote himself entirely to his passion.
“Once we opened up the location a lot of people started talking and that helped us,” Pontoni said. “There was a huge crowd at the opening. It was difficult to enter Miracle Mile. Our store is the smallest space in the whole mall. The folks at Miracle Mile saw the internet after us and gave us a chance.
The concept is simple – the guys at Correct Merch get the job done to get wanted items like Nike Dunks, the latest Jordans, or Air Force 1 so the customer doesn’t have to spend hours on the internet or queue in a other store.
There is markup for this convenience, of course, but Correct Merch will usually offer shoes that you won’t find at Foot Locker or Champs. To get the merchandise they want, customers will pay extra, Pontoni said.
Along with Muhammad, Pontoni also has former Bishop Gorman basketball players Richie Thornton V and Ugo Amadi, who walked at UNR, working at Correct Merch as managers.
“We have a lot of faith in Dom,” Thornton said. “In the store, we know how to communicate with people and help them have a good time. Everything is love here, everything is family.
Pontoni said he put “everything” he had into the store opening, although he was helped by a small group of investors.
He is also looking for more capital to help develop the concept. The plan, Pontoni said, is to open additional stores.
The fact that NBA players like Lonzo Ball and Patrick Williams of the Chicago Bulls, Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks and Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings all visited the store recently as the NBA Summer League rolled around in town helped the marketing effort. .
Ball and his brother, LiAngelo, have been clients of Correct Merch since the store opened. Lonzo Ball alone has over 10.7 million followers on Instagram.
To put that number of followers into perspective, that’s over a third of the number of Instagram followers that great boxer Floyd Mayweather has.
“What we do is popular in our age group,” Pontoni said. “We know there is a lot of potential. This is what I want to do until I can’t do it anymore.
“We’re young to do something like that, which surprises some people, but we’re just good friends who live in Las Vegas and do something in a booming industry.”
Anointed by his friends as the most fashionable of the bunch – also known as the “drip lord” of the crew – Muhammad could have said it better.
“Doing it with friends is drugs,” Muhammad said. “We work so well together. I think playing sports has helped us in this area. We learn every week, every day, but people want what they can’t get and we have it. Sky is the limit.”