From Yeezy slides to the CPFM Dunks, Coconut Grove’s newest sneaker store, Hÿp, features an expansive inventory of rare, collectible and popular shoes. In an area with few sneaker stores, Hÿp stands out. It’s also run by a University of Miami student.
“We wanted to make it an experience and create a brand behind our store, not just a store to get sneakers,” said Marcus Sharf, founder of Hÿp and a sophomore studying entrepreneurship.
Hÿp’s first physical storefront has its grand opening on August 20 with a live DJ, special guests and giveaways. The shop is located at 3208 Grand Ave, Coconut Grove, a two mile drive from campus, making it the closest high-end sneaker store to UM.
Hÿp exclusively employs UM students.
Katie Beyda, store manager and a sophomore studying finance and accounting, says Hÿp aims to introduce UM students to the sneaker culture.
Beyda remembers when Sharf first encouraged her to experiment with new shoes. She bought the Nike Panda Dunks and fell in love with them.
“He’s like what is the next shoe that I can get you that you will wear as much as you wear these,” Beyda said.
One of Sharf’s biggest goals is to cater Hÿp towards UM students. Through their social media manager, Hÿp connects with local influencers and UM athletes to attract students and other customers. Hÿp also offers a 5% discount code to students who show their Cane ID.
At the center of the store is a Japanese Zen garden, complete with real sand. The sneakers hang within custom machines on the wall, giving them the illusion of levitation. The store is minimalist and futuristic, consistent with the simplicity of the name, Hÿp.
In creating the store’s design, Sharf employs his experience in the sneaker industry, gathered over the past five years.
With some encouragement from his parents, Sharf began reselling used goods at 14 years old to pass time. He soon transitioned to reselling popular streetwear brand Supreme, a more lucrative product, to fund his collection of sneakers.
“Sneakers was always a hobby of mine,” Sharf said.
From Supreme, he slowly transitioned to selling his own sneakers to expand his collection, selling one or two pairs a week. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his business took off.
The stimulus checks, rise in online shopping and Sharf’s greater media presence allowed him to begin selling wholesale, meaning he could sell in bulk for smaller margins but larger quantities. Instead of individual sales on EBay and Instagram, Sharf switched his focus to creating connections with sneaker retailers.
In 2021, Sharf signed the lease to a warehouse near his home in Pennsylvania.
When he arrived in Miami in August 2021 as a freshman, he noticed a high demand for sneakers among UM students and a lack of sneaker stores in the UM area. He then partnered with long-term associate Yuriy Kolesnyk who was also interested in opening a sneaker store in Miami.
A dynamic market, sneaker collecting can be competitive, especially in Miami, a city that is home to a wide array of luxury stores. Sharf says that his extensive experience with the sneaker industry allows Hÿp to stock and sell sneakers at a price lower than most.
“If someone wants a specific pair of sneakers, we have it,” Sharf said.
This is key to attracting Miami’s sneakerhead audience according to Dr. Claudia Townshend, associate professor of marketing at the Miami Herbert Business School.
Townshend explains that Hÿp’s consumer base is a niche audience who seek out sneaker stores to make planned purchases because the item is a collectible.
To attract more customers, Townshend suggests that Hÿp connect with the local Miami sneakerheads to advertise with the small sneaker community and to educate its customers on the sneaker market. She explains that many people are interested in entering the sneaker market, but don’t know how.
“Thursday night beers with the experts where you have someone come in and talk about how they created their collection and what makes the sneaker valuable,” Townshend said as her suggestion for learning the business.
Sharf hopes to make Hÿp a destination store in Coconut Grove, then expand in the future.
“We want to create a great experience in that store and then see where it takes us and hopefully, in a year’s time get a bigger location,” Sharf said