“We’ve only been open for weeks,” says Jeff Harris, co-owner of Roc N’ Sole. “It’s one of those things where it’s like, if we’re at this point in weeks—give me a year. Give me two years. Let’s see where we’re at.”
Harris might talk a big game, but he’s got a point. When we get up with him in mid-September, his new sneaker store, co-owned with Roc Nation A&R Lenny Santiago, Jay Z’s right-hand man Tyrone “Ty Ty” Smith and Ty Ty’s sister Tashawn Smith-Green, has only been open for a matter of days, and yet its buzz is already strong.
Roc N’ Sole may have officially opened in mid-August, but the spot had been in the works for years. Harris, a former Foot Locker employee who rose the behind-the-scenes ranks of Roc-A-Fella Records in the mid-’00s (and worked at Nike, too), and Santiago, a through and through sneakerhead whose name you’ve more than likely heard shouted out by Hov on multiple occasions, originally had plans to open a store in Cali called Sole Mate. The plan was scrapped when the economy fell apart in the late Aughts, but in 2013, with the assistance of Ty Ty and Tashawn, a rebooted plan to open a shop in New York City was conceived.
Harris then found a space tucked practically in the shadow of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue, and ever since it’s been full steam ahead. Along with a plethora of the hottest kicks you can find in the borough, the store sells exclusive TrapStar and Roc Nation-branded hats, along with socks, tees, watches and more. There’s even a social media-inspired kick frame, so you can snap a photo of your new sneaks and tag it #RocNSole, just as @RocNSole often does on its own Instagram account.
“It creates the moment,” says Harris. “People are a part of it from the time they walk in to the time they walk out.”
Roc N’ Sole is located at 492 Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. For store hours and more info, hit up RocNSole.com.