Detroit sneakershop launches app with a portion of the proceeds going to DPSCD | Culture | Detroit

click to enlarge Frederick Paul II, the owner of Fahrenheit 313. - Courtesy Photo

Courtesy photo

Frederick Paul II, the owner of Fahrenheit 313.

The last time we spoke to Frederick Paul II, he was preparing to open his sneaker store Fahrenheit 313 on Livernois Avenue of Fashion. Paul’s grand opening was on March 13, 2020, the same day Governor Whitmer announced the closure of K-12 schools and three days before businesses began closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many businesses had to close their doors during the pandemic, Paul’s sneaker store survived despite the setbacks.

“Our grand opening day was great, but then we literally closed the following week, so to me it was like you know, it was just surviving in that moment,” says Paul. “Like, we’ve worked so hard to get here, and we’re not going to let that stop us. It was about using our resources and being creative once the store had to close.”

During the shutdown, Paul began working on developing the store’s online presence, which would eventually build not only its customer base, but also a community. Paul relied heavily on social media to keep his client engaged by creating conversation polls on Instagram and relying on online sales to keep building.

Two years later, Paul is now ready to expand the community with the release of his Fire Exchange app. The app not only allows sneaker fans to chat and discuss the latest sneaker news and trends, but also gives them exclusive access and benefits at Fahrenheit 313. One of the exclusive benefits is the Backroom, a feature in the app that allows subscribers to view Fahrenheit 313’s backroom inventory before it hits the floor.

“Customers come in all the time and say, ‘Hey, is this all the inventory you have? Can I see what’s in the back?’ That’s essentially what it’s going to be, a look inside our vault and first a dive into the inventory we get in the store,” says Paul.

Paul says the idea for the app came from the customers who don’t have easy access to his store, but still want to interact with the owners and other sneaker fans.

While the app is free to download, the monthly subscription costs $15, $3 of which will be donated to the Detroit Public Schools Community District. The Renaissance High School graduate says this is just the beginning of his plans to continue growing and giving back to the community that trained him.

“No matter how big we get, we’ll always make sure we give back to the city; and we want people to be able to really see where those dollars are going and the impact that’s being made,” says Paul. “I feel it’s really important to start with the youth – the kids in the schools. We have to start young by teaching them certain things, things I didn’t necessarily grow up in [Detroit public schools.]”

Paul said he admires the way Big Sean gives back to local students and would like to contribute in a similar way, whether it’s offering entrepreneurial courses or internships for students. Paul says he’s even developing a design challenge for students to submit their own original designs, with the winner being rewarded with their own piece of merchandise sold in his store.

Fire Exchange launches on both Android and iOS on Monday, September 26. Fahrenheit 313 is located at 20114 Livernois Ave., Detroit; fahrenheit313.com.

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