Photo contributed by Rontavious Coley
Rontavious Coley, Floyd student, unveiled his next big step towards obtaining his dream — opening up a sneaker shop. The Early Way is located on Broad Street in Rome and is set to open on April 3. The store will feature hype, limited sneakers and apparel that are typically hard to obtain.
“We only have one life that is guaranteed, so spend it doing something your heart desires,” said Coley. “Nobody in my family has ever had a business, so I wanted to change that.”
“It was a lifelong dream of mine to open up a business,” said Coley.
“I have always loved shoes, but I used to not be able to afford them when I was younger. All of that changed when I bought my first pair,” said Coley. “And then I bought another pair. I then sold one of them so I could make more money to buy more pairs, and then fast-forward to the present, and here we are.”
“It means the world to me that I get the chance to do something that I love. The sneaker community is a very caring community who look out for each other and show love. I don’t care about money, I just care about the chance of sharing the same passion I have for sneakers with others,” Coley said.
One of the main reasons Coley opened up his own sneaker store was to be a pioneer in his family. He has always been very passionate about shoes and is the first in his family to open up a business.
Coley said, “Georgia Highlands has given me the chance to actually live my dream and helped open many doors for me. Georgia Highlands has helped me a lot with networking.”
Coley credits his professors and Jon Hershey, dean of humanities, for believing in him and his dream.
Hersey said, “I am extremely proud of [Coley]. I am nervous because I know this is a big step for him, but I know that he will have it under control. Coley is a very courageous person who is not afraid to take risks. I think we need more risk-takers like him, because it is truly inspiring.”
Floyd student, Davis McGinty, said he was thrilled for the appearance of Coley’s sneaker shop. McGinty said, “This makes me feel inspired and very happy to see a business involving a culture that I am so invested in, that is not very popular, come to this city.
“It goes to show that you can accomplish your dreams if you are determined. It is also great that I know Coley. I hope that Coley helps bring more awareness of the sneaker culture to Rome. I will definitely be there at the grand opening,” said McGinty.
Edwin Chavez also had something to say about the new store, “It feels great to have a high-end sneaker store here in this small city of Rome. This store helps me, because I struggle to find shoes, and with a physical sneaker store near me, it makes the task of getting sneakers less of a hassle.
“Coley’s store opening makes me feel like anything is truly possible. It is great to see a Georgia Highlands student use the education he received to pursue his dreams. I hope Coley’s sneakers bring in customers from outside the city and help the Rome community too,” Chavez said.
Coley hopes his store will bring more awareness to sneaker culture in the Northwest Georgia area and hopes he is making a step in the right direction.