Two and a half years ago Brandon Cheng was graduating from Sherwood High School (2021)…just last month the 20-year-old young man from Montgomery County opened his first shoe/apparel store, Sole Inspires, at the Clarksburg Outlets.
Brandon grew up in Germantown and attended Northwest High School for a year before moving to the Olney area and finishing out his high school education at Sherwood High School. He has been selling shoes for 10 years, since he was just a 10-year-old kid. Four years ago he began taking it seriously and a year and a half ago he launched Sole Inspires as an online and mobile shoe business. Last spring, Brandon launched a website with all of his company’s inventory and began looking for a place to open a shop. After reaching out to approximately 20 different places, including Rockville Town Square, Rio, Edmonston Crossing (near Iron Age in Rio), Fallsgrove, and more, but wasn’t able to make it work with any for various reasons. When he saw there was an opportunity at the Clarksburg Outlets, he didn’t want to miss his chance at opening his own store.
Brandon remembers his love for sneakers growing up. As a kid, he would take pictures of sneaker walls and now wants his store where kids can feel comfortable coming in to hang out even if they aren’t able to buy anything. “I want people to come and feel welcomed. I’m just trying to bring back the sneaker culture.” he told us. “I’ve worked every hour for the last two years for this. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to do something I love and I want to be able to show everyone that you can do whatever you want.”
The store has shoes and apparel ranging from $100 to $2,000 in price. Whether you want to stop by and make your next big purchase, hang out and talk shoes with Brandon and the employees, shoot a few baskets on the toy hoop in the shop, or just browse and possibly take photos of the inventory, Brandon wants Sole Inspires to be the place for you. Currently, the shop is running a canned food drive that allows customers to bring in a can of food (with each separate can counting as an entry for their raffle) for a chance to win a PS5 console.
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