Our warehouse isn’t as big as an Amazon Fulfillment Center, but if it was empty a football field isn’t a bad comparison. Straddling the line of different areas of Miami, it would be easy to pass our building and you wouldn’t think anything of it. There are a few cars parked outside. Trucks pull up to drop off deliveries, forklifts can be heard beeping and gears whine as pallets are lifted stacking items collected waiting to be sorted. The front office staff answers phones and directs inbound bags full of sneakers ready to be recycled. Our team prepares boxes going out to our partners. Our warehouse is like any warehouse, except it isn’t.
We have a family consisting of Cubans, Haitians, Lebanese… ours is what America aspires to be, but falls short because of an unwillingness to work through the differences making us special. We’ve been in this industry for almost 40 years. Companies attempt to mimic our work or pay more for products to undercut relationships. Instead of worrying about those attempts at disruption, we double down on what we do best. We support our team members because at the core of what we do, extending the life of sneakers and trying to stop as many pairs as possible from entering the landfills, is an understanding that recycling is important, but opportunity is more important.
No one likes to have a light shone on their lives. That won’t happen here, but throughout the years we’ve built a system allowing mothers who have become grandmothers to create economies around the work they do in our building. We have a woman who has been with us long enough to put her children through college, one child is a doctor now, the other on the verge of becoming a lawyer. A Haitian family graduating from college debt free, all because a mother decided to build a business sorting and recycling footwear. We have men who spend countless hours packing and shipping, who then follow up their time by participating in fitness training after work. The stacks of apparel and footwear from famous big box retailers creates walls in some instances, but every item is inspected, rated and given a new life if possible. It’s not easy work. It’s not glamorous and cool. It’s a difficult grind for everyone. It’s thankless and we are constantly writing and reaching out to do more, but that’s not an easy thing either.
We need your assistance to do even more. If you’re a retailer looking for a partner to help clear inventory, we will take on all of the challenges of getting that inventory out of your storerooms. Sneaker Impact will send you the packing materials and shipping labels, but we can’t do that if we don’t have a point of contact. We are doing the work every day and we are waiting on your call or e-mail. Become extended family and let’s slow down the movement of sneakers into the landfills together.