Belmont Shore is now home to the third location for Proper, a clothing and footwear boutique featuring sneakerhead favorites and trending streetwear brands.
The flagship location opened in 2003 in the East Village Arts District. A second store opened years later in Houston and finally, the Belmont Shore location made its debut at the end of 2018. Owner Michael Pham added that the shore location was three years in the making.
"We never really noticed this location when it opened," he said. "We poked our nose around more towards the end of Belmont Shore more towards Subway, but nothing clicked."
That was until he was having lunch at Baja Fish Tacos on Second Street and Corona Avenue. He said that he noticed the vacant building across the street which used to be home to Romance Etc.
"We ended up calling the landlord and he showed us what could be," he said.
That's when Pham knew that he was standing in the right space, he added.
Pham first joined Proper in 2008 as an employee. He worked there for three years, went to college and later returned to purchase the business from the original owner, he said, adding that he's excited about the company's growth so far.
And in addition to the shop's expansion, the new location is a testament to the changing Belmont Shore environment, Pham said.
"The people who have come through Belmont Shore are really excited to get a store that's very different (to the neighborhood)," he said. "We also supply things that perhaps they could only get online and now they can come in, feel the material, try on the clothes and try on the shoes."
The neighborhood also fits the store's "vibes," he added.
"We picked Belmont Shore because it's similar to our Heights location in Houston," Pham said. "It's got a great feel, a lot of foot traffic, and we felt that the products that we carry will do well in this type of atmosphere."
As for customers, Pham said that he caters to many different types of shoppers. Some are looking for a nice pair of sneakers, while others are looking for very specific brands and designs.
"We have very niche people who are looking for certain hype pieces that they may not be able to get at other locations," he said.
Pham said that a personal goal of his is to introduce new brands to shoppers, with hopes of introducing brands like Reigning Champ from Canada. Other brands include designs by Kanye West and an Adidas collection designed by Alexander Wang. Of course, traditional Adidas and Vans are available as well.
Price range varies, with some releases as expensive as $300, but the average price per sneaker is $60-$180, Pham said.
Proper's Belmont Shore is at 5209 E. Second St. The East Village store is at 425 & 431 E. First St.
For more information, go to properlbc.com.
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at email@example.com.