Possibly the youngest sneaker shop businessman in the country, Revive owner Aaron Cohen left Michigan at a young age for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, but he couldn't resist returning to his roots in Metro Detroit. It wasn't hard for him to notice that their was an black hole of nothingness in the Metro Detroit market for high end sneakers and hip street wear that New York City has so much of.
Open since 2006, Revive in downtown Birmingham has filled that gap. Offering limited edition and custom made Nike's, hooded sweatshirts, T-shirts, Jeans and hats by labels such as The Hundreds, RockersNYC, Acapluco Gold, Reason, Married to the Mob, Lemar and Dauley, Rocksmith, King Stampede, Amongst Friends, Staple, and more, Revive has given Birmingham an edge not seen before (Yes, I realize Birmingham described as with "an edge" is humorous).
Cohen first started selling shoes out of the store solely on consignment. The way consignment works is that consignor aka the seller bring in items they want to sell, the owner sells those items, and the consignor takes a cut of the price the item sells for, while the owner takes the rest. New York has many of these consignment shops, but Revive might just be the first consignment sneaker store in the state of Michigan.
While Revive still runs on consignment, Cohen's ultimate goal was to strike deals with all the major sneaker brands. In the limited edition sneaker world, not just anybody has the right to sell hard to find sneakers. Thats why they're...um...limited edition. Representatives for the brand are sent out to take a look at the stores to make sure the vibe, style, products and owners are up to each individual company's standards.
It isn't easy though to gain those privileges though and when Revive first opened, Cohen faced an uphill battle. After two years in operation, Cohen has managed to impress multiple companies and in turn gain the rights to sell many of the limited edition sneakers that sneakerheads crave. Cohen still has more shoe brands with which he wants to gain the rights to, and if Revive continues to be a success, I don't see why it would be a problem.
Walking into the store, hipster paintings and graffiti adorn the walls and hip hop is ringing from the speakers. Jeans, hoodies, t-shirts, and hats line the walls on both sides of the store, while sneakers can be found on shelves in between and below the apparel on their own prominent shelves. Couches sit on the left side of the store for your relaxing pleasure, although I don't get the impression that you're invited to sit around and hang out. Once in a while the store emits just a hint of an elitist attitude, but it's all part of the persona.
As for the employees, they seem knowledgeable about the merchandise and are happy to show that off. I don't know if this is still the case, but at least in the past, employees weren't actually given a pay check and instead were given discounts on items within the store. I've heard grumblings about why anyone would want to work for discounts, but I think it's a testament to how passionate these employees are about the street culture, and for that matter, the store. Anyway, it seems like a good deal for Cohen and like I always say, you can't knock the hustle (Actually I would never seriously say that, unless I was kidding...or actually, maybe I would, I don't know, I've said some pretty ridiculous stuff).
Aaron Cohen has a good thing going at Revive and he knows it. Revive has brought a sense of street style to Metro Detroit, specifically the mean streets of Birmingham. Their aren't too many places like Revive and it's good to see the young, creative, entrepreneurial class of Detroit showing how successful they can be.
The store is definitely worth the trip, and it's way less expensive than flying to New York to find gear that not many people around here have. Just remember though, although while inside the store you might FEEL like you're in the Lower East Side of Manhattan (Meanwhile, is the LES still hip or is it now just yuppie?), you're still in Birmingham, so don't get too crazy.
Below are photos from Revive in Birmingham, Michigan
You can see the complete Flickr set of photographs from Revive here
383 Hamilton Row
Birmingham, MI 48009
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