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Meet Vernon Chipman of Coach’s Closet Inc in Miami Gardens- Overtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vernon Chipman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Coach’s Closet was founded in 2013. While still in college at Florida A&M, I began coaching basketball for Tallahassee Parks and Rec. As a coach, I noticed there were a few players who did not have the proper shoes to play in. After speaking with the players and parents, I began going through my closet and asking my family and friends for shoes to donate. Things sort of picked up from there. We began collecting more shoes, clothes, school supplies, and other items. In order for us to give them out to the community, we either partnered with others for their events or planned our own. These events include; Back to School Drives, Basketball Tournaments, Football Clinics, Holiday Sneaker Drives, Feeding of the Homeless, etc.

Although we were serving the Tallahassee community, I’ve always felt guilty about not giving back to the place I grew up. So a few years back I decided to give away shoes in Miami at the Devonta Freeman Football Camp. Since then, Coach’s Closet has been providing our services throughout South Florida as well as North Florida. Our Goal is to reach the entire state of Florida and beyond!

Has it been a smooth road?
When you are providing services and goods for free, it is never a smooth road. We have come across a few obstacles throughout the process. Our biggest obstacle has been financial.

We do not have any corporate sponsors, which forces us to spend money out of our pockets to fund our events and purchase materials/supplies. We also receive monetary donations from those in the community, which is always a big help. Despite having this challenge, every event has resulted in success! With Faith, anything is possible!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Coach’s Closet Inc story. Tell us more about the business.
As I mentioned before, we started off collecting shoes and donating them. That is what we are known for. We collect gently used shoes. Not just any shoes however, we take pride in giving away shoes that people are willing to pay for. When kids come to our drives, they walk away with Jordan’s, Foamposites, Air Max’s, Vans and many more of the hottest sneakers out. That’s what separates us from everyone else. We request those sneakers in your closet that you’ve only worn three times in the last four years. We don’t believe in giving away things that we would not want for ourselves. By giving away nice sneakers, it boosts a child’s self-esteem. It helps build their confidence and allows them to fit in with their peers. Not all parents are able to spend $200 on a pair of shoes. With the help of Coach’s Closet, that child can still own those sneakers without having to spend any money.

In addition to giving away sneakers, we’ve also paid light bills, provided care packages for students away in college, and other resources to those in need. If there is any way we can help, we are ready to do just that. Our motto is “Doing the Right Thing because It’s the Right Thing to Do”.

Tell us about your childhood, what were you like growing up?
Coach’s Closet pretty much sums up my childhood. I was always involved in sports, whether playing or watching them. I’ve always been a leader and organizer. I was involved in SGA throughout school and enjoyed planning events for our class. Fashion has always been a big part of my life. I’ve always taken pride in my appearance and those I hung out with. I was always an easy-going person and enjoyed seeing people smile. As long as everyone else was happy, I was happy. Most importantly, I’ve always been a giver. I always felt I was blessed, so if I came across someone who did not have what I had, I would give them mine. Although my parents did not like it, I always felt it was the right thing to do.

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