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Black youth-owned shoe store broken into, all inventory stolen

one pair workers
Posted at 10:22 PM, Nov 10, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One Pair in south Kansas City is owned by Black youth, ages 14 years old and up.

Jerren Thornhill, the founder of One Pair, said on Tuesday night their store was broken into and all the inventory was stolen.

One Pair is a shoe and clothing store where teenagers buy, sell, clean, and customize shoes — and sell local brands, too.

It’s also an education center run by the youth of Kansas City, where they provide an opportunity to teach money, ethics, life lessons, conversations and experiences outside of a classroom.

The store, which is located near Troost Avenue and East 55th Street, opened one year ago.

“About a 110-, 120-plus shoes stolen,” Thornhill said. “Classic shoes, new shoes, used shoes, shoes we customized, shoes worth a lot of money.”

Thornhill said $50,000 worth of inventory was stolen and caught on camera.

“Empty shoe racks, stolen livelihood, something that the youth created,” Thornhill said.

However, the loss isn't just about money.

“Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying,” said KJ Farmer, a youth owner. “We are trying to bless more people; the holidays were coming up and we planned to give out shoes. So, to really take it away from the people in the community-its bigger than us. It’s not a monetary value loss. They took our dignity; they took the hard work and countless hours we can’t get back the effort.”

Given the chance, the store's owners would have welcomed the chance to help the thieves, if they had only asked.

“If they would have known that One Pair is a chance, we provide that chance for everybody, they could have come and asked us for the opportunity for some shoes, for some clothes,” Thornhill said.

One thing the thieves couldn't steal was these boys’ relentless positivity and determination, another lesson Thornhill pushes forward.

“You know they say, ‘You build it they will come’ — not just good, bad, too,” Thornhill said. “You get tripped all the time, but it’s about getting up looking forward and keep pushing.”

KCPD is investigating the theft, but no suspects have been caught yet.

The owners of One Pair are determined to re-open for their one-year anniversary — in just a few weeks.

To held rebuild the shop, they have created a GoFundMe.