By Nicole Brooks de Gier
Photography by Paul Adams
Classic Soles Tyrone Goodwin was watching television when a commercial prompted him to launch Classic Soles. An idea that started on his couch, grew in his kitchen.
Not long after Classic Sole’s launch, Goodwin paired with business partner John Connor, the owner of East Coast Kicks to maximize business profit. East Coast Kicks is one of the few high-end sneaker shops east of Montreal and combining exclusive sneaker releases with sneaker detailing was a nobrainer, Goodwin explains.
“For me it all started at home, in my kitchen cleaning people’s sneakers on my washer,” says Goodwin. “I jumped in wholeheartedly. I just knew I had to keep it going. I had a vision of being the expert in shoe cleaning.”
Tyrone Goodwin (right) and John Connor (left)
“Believe it or not, we didn’t know each other before this. We each were doing our thing at home. Six months after I started, we were introduced,” says Goodwin. “We’re offering full-circle service with clients coming in to buy sneakers and coming back to keep those shoes clean. We’re the full meal deal.”
Capitalizing on the preciousness of sneaker culture, Classic Soles is a footwear cleaning and customizing shop nestled in North End Halifax. In under a year, Goodwin has amassed a dedicated group of customers, many of whom have been lured to the Agricola and West street shop by its social media presence. His Instagram account features jawdropping before and after photos of previously dingy, dark sneakers returned to gleaming white perfection. For sneakers that have already been returned to their former glory, Goodwin adds custom artwork like children’s names or cartoon characters.
In addition to establishing Classic Soles and East Coast Kicks as the go-to destination for sneakerheads in Halifax, both Goodwin and Connor are dedicated to investing in the local community. Their shared space features unique, and sometimes political clothing, with artwork by several local apparel brands and the duo often do shoe drives to support those in need who live nearby.
“Sneaker [lovers are] a community and a culture. Once you’re immersed in the community you learn more about colorways and what they represent,” Goodwin explains. “The sneaker then becomes collector’s items and memorabilia. It’s so much more than grabbing sneakers and putting them on your feet.”
“We’re a local business and we really want to support the local businesses that are trying to do their thing, too,” says Goodwin. “We want people to want to drop by to see us fellas at the shop.” email@example.com 902-579-6849
Terrence Taylor Media There’s no doubt that Terrence Taylor is unstoppable. He carries himself with a buoyancy and effervescence that’s contagious and it’s no wonder that the 30-year-old has seen success in the handful of business start-ups he’s launched since graduating from St. Francis Xavier University.
At its core, Terrence Taylor Media, is a social enterprise. He helps other businessowners appeal to their consumer base through unique online content, videos and storytelling, but he also gives back to his community by inspiring youth to create original content and dream bigger.
“The barrier to entry is how much work you want to put in,” he explains referencing his business strategy.
A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Taylor moved to his mother’s home province of Nova Scotia as a teenager. He also played basketball throughout his childhood and at university, also just like his mother. He says that as a young black man, there are often only two predetermined paths set for your future and he wanted to eschew both.
His latest venture, Terrence Taylor Media, is grounded in his penchant for social media, branding, storytelling, and content production. The business, which is inching toward its first anniversary, is supported by Common Goods Solutions and its five-year business incubation program.
“When you have a purpose and a why and you’re an artist, you’re not about capitalism and the bottom line. You want to do business a different way,” explains Taylor. “Yes, I have a business and I want it to be successful, but I also have a reason for it and that’s to help people like me.” BLACK to BUSINESS
“I’m changing the narrative on what it is to be a young, black man,” he says. “It’s the name of the podcast I host discussing racism and social movements, but it’s also an important part of my work. I want to help support people like me succeed in different ways.” terrencetaylormedia.com 902-809-4680