Family Business: Marcus Jordan opens Air Jordan focused boutique
There’s a “warm feeling” visitors get when they walk through the trophy room in the Jordan house, Marcus Jordan, Michael’s son, tells SI.com. Marcus wants to recreate that with a concept sneaker and apparel boutique opening this spring in the brand new Disney Springs at Walt Disney World outside of Orlando.
“What I’m trying to do is recreate the atmosphere, the warm feeling that people would feel as they would walk through the trophy room when we had friends over,” he says. “I have happy memories with my family. In the trophy room growing up my dad had game-worn shoes, all the awards, all the memorabilia. There will be parts of that within the Trophy Room store with game-worn shoes on display, photographs of us inside the original trophy room, various family photos and videos that exude that warm feeling.”
But there will also be plenty of Jordan Brand and Nike sneakers, memorabilia and Trophy Room collaborations on hand when the store opens sometime this May.
“This is literally a dream come true,” Marcus says. “Not to sound cliché, but I’ve been around Jordan Brand, footwear and sneakers my entire life. To have the opportunity to open a concept like this, it is an honor.”
From there, Marcus and Michael birthed the idea of a sneaker boutique and it kept taking form after Marcus decided he wanted to bring a sense of family into his concept without revealing too much. “I’ve tried to create that sense of mystery to create a hunger within the consumer,” he says. “That is something my dad did, not even intentionally, but as a private person he doesn’t share a lot of personal thoughts with the public. I tried to capture that, being vague and adding to the mystery. It creates that demand and warmth.”
With both his mom and dad “super involved” in helping steer Marcus, a graduate from Orlando’s University of Central Florida, during his first major business venture, Trophy Room still features Marcus as the visionary. It will have a strong footwear feel without pigeonholing itself to just shoes, as there will be concessions made to serve the family-style consumer.
Trophy Room will consist of a heavy Jordan Brand perspective, but Marcus still plans to carry Nike product. And it won’t be just basketball. “We are definitely going to be tied to basketball,” he says. “Being Jordan Brand, that is the leading sport for the brand, but that opens the doors to other sports.” And as one of the only true sneaker/apparel boutiques in Orlando—if not the only—Marcus wants to cover all his bases for the visitors expected to cycle through the center each day.
And while Trophy Room looks to soccer, international customers and families, Marcus isn’t losing sight of the close ties he has to Jordan Brand. He’s already collaborated on “a lot of store exclusive products that feature the Jumpman and Trophy Room logo.” He’s used the store’s logo to tie to his family and his dad and “we’ve got a lot of really cool products in line for year one,” he says. “I can’t wait.”
This co-branding effort is new for Jordan Brand, and something different for a boutique as Trophy Room won’t carry other brands. Marcus will rely on Nike and Jordan Brand to allot him enough products to keep pace. “I don’t think that has been done before,” Marcus says. “They are learning, we are going to learn. I am super excited.”
The start-up process has been a new one for Marcus, presenting him with new challenges. “My parents have always been there for support if I needed a quick outside perspective,” he says. “Every other day is an adventure. There is always something coming up that I didn't plan for or thought we had already solved.”
While dealing with the logistics of starting Trophy Room, Marcus falls back on the joy of creating, doing the buys for the store and designing store exclusives. “I’m looking at catalogs for Nike and Jordan products,” he says. “It is no different than in my free time. I’m trying to incorporate stores in every single thing involved. I’m really, really having fun.”
As Trophy Room inches closer to a string of soft openings, what will Marcus wear for such big events? “No, I haven’t (thought about that),” he says. “What do I wear at soft openings and grand openings? Obviously, a Trophy Room exclusive.” Maybe something that lets folks into his family’s legacy—but not too much.
Tim Newcomb covers sports aesthetics—stadiums to sneakers—and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.