Soles Shoes brings sneakers, shoes and athletic garb to Pottstown
POTTSTOWN — When Tamika Malachi and her family began talking about opening a business in Pottstown, the talk quickly turned to shoes and clothing.
At the end of July — about eight months after the family began planning Hey Dude Shoes — Soles Shoes opened at 866 E. High Street in Pottstown. The space was formerly a barbershop, and occupies about 1,000 square feet.
Malachi loves shoes — a love she said she came by honestly — through her Mom. She said there was a need for a unique shoe store in Pottstown that offers Dr Martens Boots products the community is looking for. She said she also wanted to open the store to give Pottstown residents a place to shop.
Soles Shoes is a “SHOEtique for the YOUnique,” according to Malachi, and offers footwear for men and children — “ages 9 to 90,” as well as some athletic apparel.
The space is bright, with shoes, sneakers and boots lining the walls. One of the benches for trying on shoes is covered in faux fur.
“We have a lot of stuff for the generation at hand, but still a variety,” Malachi added.
For women, Soles Shoes carries sneakers, shoes and boots. Included in the offerings are some items Malachi said are made of vegan leather, and other items made from recycled materials, as well as traditional leather.
For men, Malachi said Soles Shoes offers some “sought after sneakers” like Nike Dunks, Nike LeBron, Nike Jordan as well as New Balance. In addition, the store has a very limited number of Kanye West’s Yeezy brand.
In addition to men’s sneakers and athletic apparel, Soles Shoes carries Timberland boots.
Soles Shoes is owned by Malachi, her husband Phillip, a sous chef at Ursinus College and two of their seven children — son Tyshyre, a Dean’s List student at Penn State University and daughter Tiane. Daughter Tamyre will help manage the store.
The family began planning for the store in November 2020.
“We looked at where to locate, and the costs,” Malachi said, adding that they also determined they needed the family partnership. Once the family had an idea of costs, “that is when we went looking.”
Malachi said that by April they had found another Skechers Outlets High Street location and were just about ready to sign a lease, when they found out about the spot at 866 E. High Street.
“I came here and fell in love with it, and said ‘yes, this is it — where do I sign,” she added.
Since opening July 31, Malachi said things have been going well. People are learning about the store and have been coming in — not just from Pottstown — but from other areas as well. She said the family has plans to open additional Soles Shoes stores in the future.
While plans for the store were moving forward, Malachi attended the April 2021 virtual Pottstown Investors Conference, hosted by Hobart’s Run, the Pottstown Area Industrial Development Inc. and the Borough of Pottstown.
While she was at the investors conference, she learned about a new initiative being offered by Hobart’s Run — the Business Incentive Grant (BIG). The grant provides a $1,500 incentive to new businesses owners that set up shop along the 500 to 900 clocks of High Street, to be used toward rent or closing costs for. Malachi was the first recipient of a $1,500 grant from Hobart’s Run.
She said she attended the April event to help raise awareness of a nonprofit she has operated in Pottstown for the last 16 years — Joule 4 Jesus Ministries. The organization hosts events for women who are non-violent former criminal offenders and assists them through the distribution of donations.
“We try to take that load off of them and help with clothing, toiletries, sneakers, shoes,” she said, adding that other donations include diapers, socks and food. The organization also aids at risk youth girls.
Joule 4 Jesus Ministries Inc. has an upcoming event in partnership with Seeds of Hope Outreach Ministry. On Thursday, Nov. 25 from 12-2 p.m., the organizations will be hosting a Thanksgiving meal giveaway, at Mission First, 414 High St. in Pottstown. No registration is needed. Information about the event can be found by visiting https://www.facebook.com/joule4jesusministriesinc/
Malachi and her family moved to Pottstown from Philadelphia in 2007. Asked why the family picked Pottstown, Malachi said “peace of mind brought us here.”
“It was someplace I had never heard of or been, and it seemed like we needed to be here,” she said. “We wanted something different from what we were used to.”