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Hated job abandoned for business dream


Chris Meehan spent the past 15 years unsatisfied with his work.

The Telegram caught up with Chris Meehan Wednesday, as he worked to wrap up interior renovations and prepare for the store’s opening later this month.

“I was in a job that I really didn’t have anything invested into, I really didn’t care for it,” he said, when The Telegram caught up with him Wednesday.

“I just didn’t see any room to grow myself, personally,” he said, of his labour in the health-care sector.

The 35-year-old was standing in the centre of the shop that is about to become his future. With fresh, white paint on the newly constructed shelving behind him, he spoke about Legend City with enthusiasm.

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“This is going to be like an experience,” he said, explaining his shop will by the city’s first to focus on high-end sneaker lines. It will also carry other sportswear, with a particular focus on basketball and street wear.

He made note of sneaker culture and high-end brands continuing to be built by the likes of Jordan, Nike and Adidas, where the best of the best are being sought online by locals.

“We kind of get the trickle-down, the leftovers, but I wanted to be able to bring the top products here as quickly as possible,” he said.

Legend City is located in the Hamlyn Road Plaza and will open by the end of January. An exact date has yet to be set.

But the business is already reaching out, connecting with the sporting community, sponsoring the Waterford Valley High Warriors senior basketball team and The Legend City Classic school tournament, to be played this weekend.

“I really wanted to give back,” Meehan said, noting the new school is a combination of the populations from the now-shuttered Bishops College and Booth Memorial schools. He attended Bishops years ago, he said, playing basketball there. A former coach now teaches at the city’s newest high school.

“Plus something like this, you’re nobody without your customers and if your customers are 500 feet down the road, there’s a good portion of them just down the road, it seemed like a good place to start.”

Executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association, Bill Murphy, said basketball is a solid sport for Meehan to target. It is bigger here than people might think, he explained, given school teams playing in their own areas do not necessarily get represented in the association’s numbers.

“We would probably be one of the larger sports, comparable to soccer and hockey,” he said, of basketball’s true numbers.

He estimated 1,200 kids are currently registered in minor clubs in St. John’s.

“The other side is there’s lots of people who don’t play basketball that wants to wear cool sneakers,” he said.

“The challenge that they’ll have is that most of the kids today shop online and get them hot off the press and get them in the bigger markets and have them shipped personally to them.”

Meehan is banking on personal service and expertise.

His partner in the venture, Bob Griffin, has a background in insurance and investments, with a few enterprises stacked atop. He partnered with Meehan on the new business having known him since high school, and after conducting market research and a business plan.

“There’s a subculture there,” he said, explaining the pair made a point to check out sneaker boutiques established by big brands in California and other locations, to see what was not readily available here and what they might carry.

“Sneakerhead culture is here in Newfoundland.”

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

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